Articles Posted in Lehman Brothers

Securities Claims Against Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Underwriters Are Dismissed

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has thrown out the California Corporations Code claims made against the underwriters of two offerings of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. debt securities per the precluding of the 1998 Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act. This, despite the fact that the securities case was brought by one plaintiff and lacks class action allegations.

The SLUSA’s enactment had occurred to shut a 1995 Private Securities litigation Reform Act loophole that let plaintiffs filing lawsuits in state courts circumvent the Act’s tougher securities fraud pleading requirements. It generally allows for federal preemption of state law class actions contending misrepresentations related to the buying or selling of a covered security. However, the court granted the motion to dismiss noting that even though the securities case was brought only on the State Compensation Insurance Fund’s behalf, it is still a covered class action within the act’s meaning.

Once again, former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. executives want an insurance fund to cover their expenses stemming from securities-related misconduct they are accused of committing. This time, they want to use the money to cover their legal bills. On Monday, former Lehman Chief Executive Richard Fuld and other ex-executives submitted a filing in US Bankruptcy Court to responded to an objection made by the former owners of Maher Terminal Holdings Corp. objecting to this fund use.

Basil Maher and M. Brian Maher claim that the paperwork submitted by the former executives doesn’t support use of the insurance monies. The brothers have been in opposition with Lehman since the investment bank filed for bankruptcy in 2008. The Mahers contend that in 2007 when they wired $600 million for their sale of Maher Terminal Holdings Corp. to Lehman, the financial firm allegedly placed their money in investments that were riskier than what they had wanted. The Mahers are still trying to recoup their losses form Lehman.

The former Lehman executives want the court to give them access to a diminishing $250 million insurance fund. They say that not only would this prevent a protracted court battle with local governments that they’ve already settled with, but also, they don’t believe this will impact the investment bank’s creditors. The ex-executives had settled for $1.05 million a dispute with six California municipalities that had invested $35 million into Lehman in the two years before it failed. The municipalities later filed their securities case accusing Lehman of making misrepresentation and omissions in their offering documents, which is what the governments used as reference when making the decision to invest in the financial firm.

The former Lehman executives just recently made another request to use $90 million from the insurance fund to settle a securities lawsuit filed by Lehman shareholders. They also have asked the bankruptcy court for $8.25 million in insurance money to settle a securities case filed by the state of New Jersey.

Should the bankruptcy judge grant the ex-Lehman officials’ requests, then Fuld and the others won’t have to put out any out-of-pocket expenses for their alleged misconduct. Apparently, it is not unusual for insurance money to cover corporate officers and directors that are the target of shareholder lawsuits.

Says Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP founder and securities fraud attorney William Shepherd, “Amazing that those who put Lehman into bankruptcy can now use the first dollars available to pay their own legal bills rather than to pay their victims, including investors and the subordinates they led down the garden path to disaster. Apparently, it is again nice to be part of the ‘one-percent’ on Wall Street.”

Fuld Leads Ex-Lehman Officials in Defending Insurance Use, The Wall Street Journal, October 17, 2011
Ex-Lehman Officials to Pay $90 Million to Settle Suit, NY Times, August 25, 2011
Fuld, Lehman Executives Settle Lawsuit by California Cities, Businessweek, September 28, 2011

More Blog Posts:
Lehman Brothers’ “Structured Products” Investigated by Stockbroker Fraud Law Firm Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, September 30, 2008
FINRA Orders UBS Financial Services to Pay $8.25M for Misleading Investors About Security of Lehman Brothers Principal Protected Notes, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, April 15, 2011
European Leaders Work to Get a Grip on Debt Crisis, Institutional Investors Securities Blog, October 19, 2011 Continue reading

A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration panel says that UBS Financial Services Inc. must pay $2.2 million to CNA Financial Corp. Chief Executive and Chairman Thomas F. Motamed for losses that he and his wife Christine B. Motamed sustained from investing in Lehman Brothers structured products. The Motameds, who filed their claim against the UBS AG (UBS, UBSN.VX) unit and ex-UBS brokers Judith Sierko and Robert Ashley early in 2009, are alleging misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, and other charges.

This is the largest award involving UBS-sold Lehman structured products. However, the Motameds’ securities fraud case is just one of many against UBS over its sale of about $1 billion in Lehman-related structured investment products to US clients. Many of the claimants contend that the broker-dealer failed to properly represent the investments. As part of this arbitration case, UBS must also pay 6% yearly interest on the $2.2 million to the Motameds from April 4, 2008 until payment of the award is complete. The ruling is supposed to represent rescission of the Motameds’ structured products purchase.

UBS reportedly has not won even one case over the Lehman structured products where the claimant had legal representation. Just a few months ago, UBS AG was ordered to pay $529,688 to another couple over their Lehman structured notes purchase. Steven and Ellen Edelson bought the notes while under the impression that they were “principal protected” when in fact the securities did not have such protection.

The award is the largest involving Lehman structured products purchased through UBS, which has expressed disappointment over the panel’s ruling. The broker-dealer maintains that the losses sustained by the Motameds are a result of Lehman Brothers’s failure and not UBS’s handling of the products.

To Pay $2.2 Mln To CNA Chief for Lehman-Related Losses, The Wall Street Journal, December 23, 2010
UBS Must Pay Couple $530,000 for Lehman Brothers-Backed Structured Notes, Institutional Investors Securities Blog, November 5, 2010 Continue reading

The estate of Lehman Brothers Holdings is claiming that JP Morgan Chase abused its position as a clearing firm when it forced Lehman to give up $8.6 billion in cash reserve as collateral. In its securities fraud lawsuit, Lehman contends that if it hadn’t had to give up the money, it could have stayed afloat, or, at the very least, shut down its operations in an orderly manner. Instead, Lehman filed for bankruptcy in September 2008.

JP Morgan was the intermediary between Lehman and its trading partners. Per Lehman’s investment fraud lawsuit, JP Morgan used its insider information to obtain billions of dollars from Lehman through a number of “one sided agreements.” The complaint contends that JP Morgan threatened to stop serving as Lehman’s clearing house unless it offered up more collateral as protection. Lehman says it had to put up the cash because clearing services were the “lifeblood” of its “broker-dealer business.”

JP Morgan’s responsibilities, in relation to Lehman, included providing unsecured and secured intra-day credit advances for the broker-dealer’s clearing activities, acting as Lehman’s primary depositary bank for deposit accounts, and serving in the role of administrative agent and lead arranger of LBHI’s $2 billion unsecured revolving credit facility.

Investors of Main Street Natural Gas Bonds are claiming that not only did brokers fail to disclose the risks associated with investing in them, but they also failed to inform their clients that the bonds could be affected by the financial health of Lehman Brothers. Wall Street firms had marketed and sold Main Street Natural Gas Bonds as conservative, safe municipal bonds when, in fact, they were Lehman Brothers-backed complex derivative securities. As a result, when the investment bank filed for bankruptcy in 2008 the bonds’ trading value dropped.

If you were an investor who lost money because you invested in Main Street Natural Gas Bonds that you were told were safe, conservative investments, please contact our stockbroker fraud lawyers immediately to request your free case evaluation. You may have grounds for a securities fraud claim.

Main Street Natural Gas

Over two dozen bankers at Wall Street investment firms have been listed as co-conspirators in a bid-rigging scheme to pay lower than market interest rates to the federal and state governments over guaranteed investment contracts. The banks named as co-conspirators include JP Morgan Chase & Co, UBS AG, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., Bear Stearns Cos., Bank of America Corp, Societe General, Wachovia Corp (bought by Wells Fargo), former Citigroup Inc. unit Salomon Smith Barney, and two General Electric financial businesses.

The investment banks were named in papers filed by the lawyers of a former CDR Financial Products Inc. employee. The attorneys for the advisory firm say that they “inadvertedly” included the list of bankers and individuals and asked the court to strike the exhibit that contains the list. The firms and individuals on the co-conspirators list are not charged with any wrongdoing. However, over a dozen financial firms are contending with securities fraud complaints filed by municipalities claiming conspiracy was involved.

The government says that CDR, a local-government adviser, ran auctions that were scams. This let banks pay lower interests to the local governments. In October, CDR, and executives David Rubin, Evan Zarefsky, and Zevi Wolmark were indicted. They denied any wrongdoing. This year, three other former DCR employees pleaded guilty.

While the original indictments didn’t identify any investment contract sellers that took part in the alleged conspiracy, Providers A and B were accused of paying kickbacks to CDR after winning investment deals that the firm had brokered. The firms were able to do this by allegedly paying sham fees connected to financial transactions involving other companies.

Per the court documents filed in March, the kickbacks were paid out of fees that came out of transactions entered into with Royal Bank of Canada and UBS. The US Justice Department says the kickbacks ranged from $4,500 to $475,000. Financial Security Assurance Holdings Ltd divisions and GE units created the investment contracts that were involved.

Approximately $400 billion in municipal bonds are issued annually. Schools, cities, and states use money they get from the sale of these bonds to buy guaranteed investment contracts. Localities use the contracts to earn a return on some of the funds until they are needed for certain projects. The IRS, which sometimes makes money on the investments, requires that they are awarded on the basis of competitive bidding to make sure that the government gets a fair return.

Related Web Resources:
JPMorgan, Lehman, UBS Named in Bid-Rigging Conspiracy, Business Week, March 26, 2010
U.S. Probe Lays Out Bid Fixing, Bond Buyer, March 29, 2010
Read the letter to District Judge Marrero (PDF)
Continue reading

Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008. Now, a report by a court-appointed examiner provides 2,200 pages of details on the investment firms demise, as well as more leads into further inquiries that may need to be made. (The US Justice Department assigns examiners to bankruptcy cases to probe allegations of misconduct and wrongdoing. The examiners are there to help determine whether creditors can recover more funds and if additional regulatory action needs to occur.) Already, a number of top Lehman officials have been named defendants in securities fraud lawsuits over their alleged misconduct.

For example, examiner Anton R. Valukas appears to have found evidence of “actionable balance sheet manipulation, including use of Repo 105, an aggressive accounting practice that allowed Lehman to conceal the full extent of its financial problems. While no US law firm would sign off on this practice, Linklaters, a British law firm, did.

According to Valukas, as long as the repos took place in London through the bank’s European arm and the firm did what was necessary to make the transactions look as if they were sales, then regulatory disapproval was unlikely. Also, even after a whistleblower warned that accounting improprieties were occurring at at Lehman, Valukas says that Ernst & Young continued to certify Lehman’s financial statements.

If your account at Lehman Brothers was mismanaged or if you invested into Lehman Brothers stocks, hedge funds, notes, or other Lehman financial products that were sold by other firms, please contact our stockbroker fraud law firm immediately. Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas, LLP is committed to helping investment fraud victims throughout the US recoup their financial losses.

Related Web Resources:
Findings on Lehman Take Even Experts by Surprise, NY Times, March 10, 2010
Read the Examiner Report (PDF)
Continue reading

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. has filed an adversary complaint against Barclays Capital Inc. requesting the return of billions of dollars in extra profit that it says the latter made when buying Lehman’s North American brokerage business last year. Lehman says that Barclays failed to disclose that it received an illegal payment of at least $5 billion as part of the asset sale transaction. Barclays says that the asset sale terms were delineated in documents that Lehman executives signed.

Lehman is alleging breach of contract, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, and several violations of the US bankruptcy code. Lehman is seeking punitive damages, compensatory damages, post-judgment interest, return of excess assets, avoidance of excess asset transfers, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and, pursuant to Bankruptcy Code Section 502(d), disallowance of Barclays claims against Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

According to the adversary complaint, Lehman and Barclays executives made an agreement that Barclays would buy Lehman’s US brokerage business, key real estate pieces, and related support systems. A bankruptcy court approved the deal.

Now, however, Lehman claims that the Sale Transaction were secretly put together in a manner that gave Barclays a huge, immediate windfall profit: Specifically, an undisclosed $5 billion off the book value of assets that were moved to Barclays and later, the undisclosed transfers of billions of dollars in ‘additional value.’

Barclays, however, says that the $5 billion “discount” is in fact the difference between the $45 billion it paid and the $49.7 billion nominal value of Lehman collateral that Barclays assumed and paid for the Lehman assets.

Related Web Resource:
Read the Lehman Brothers Lawsuit
Continue reading

In an arbitration case that could affect numerous cases that are still pending, a Financial Industry Regulation Authority panel awarded a small investor $200,000 after finding that a UBS Financial Services broker acted inappropriately when he sold high-risk Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. principal-protected notes to the claimant.

The case involving Lehman notes is one of the first to be decided by a FINRA panel. While the ruling won’t establish a precedent, it could be an indication of how similar rulings may go in the future. “There are many cases pending against UBS and other firms that sold Lehman notes shortly before Lehman failed,” said stockbroker fraud attorney William Shepherd, whose firm, securities fraud firm Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP, is handling a number of such cases. “These cases often involve misrepresentations and omissions as well as unsuitability, since the investments were sold to clients who sought safety and income,” he added.

The claimant filed the arbitration claim accusing UBS of recommending structured products that are not suitable for “unsophisticated investors.” The broker purchased for the client a $75,000 return optimization note and a $225,000 guaranteed principal protection note. The FINRA panel determined that the claimant should be compensated for the principal protected note, in addition to legal fees and interest.

Although the amount awarded is less than what the investor hoped to recover, a UBS spokesman said the securities firm was disappointed that the claimant was awarded any damages and maintains the investor’s financial losses were a result of the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Investor Wins Lehman Note Arbitration, Wall Street Journal, December 5, 2009
FINRA awards US investor in Lehman notes $200,000, Reuters, December 5, 2009 Continue reading

A District Court judge has granted class certification in the securities fraud lawsuit against Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs. The plaintiffs are accusing the broker-dealers of putting forth misleading analysts reports about RSL Communications Inc. for the purposes of maintaining or obtaining profitable financial and advisory work from RSL. Per Judge Shira Sheindlin, the class is to be made up of all parties that bought RSL Common stock between April 30, 1999 and December 29, 2000.

RSL investors, who are the plaintiffs, contend that the defendants artificially inflated the market price of RSL common stock, which injured them and other class members.

In July 2005, the court had certified a class that included anyone who had bought or acquired RSL equity shares between the dates noted above after determining that the plaintiffs had made “some showing” that Rule 23 requirements had been satisfied. The broker-dealer defendants appealed.

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated the class certification order and remanded the action for reconsideration. It’s decision in e Initial Public Offering Securities Litigation, 471 F.3d 24 had clarified class certification standards.

Two years later, pending the outcome In re Salomon Analyst Metromedia Litigation, the court issued a stay. Following its opinion, which held that market presumption includes securities fraud allegations against research analysts, the Court lifted the stay, allowing the plaintiffs to renew their motion for class certification. The court granted the motion and noted that the defendants have been unable to “rebut the fraud on the market presumption by the preponderance of the evidence on the basis that the analyst reports” are missing certain key pieces of information. Per their securities fraud claim, plaintiffs can therefore avail of the “fraud on the market presumption to establish transaction causation.”

The court said that the plaintiffs have succeeded in proving that loss causation can be proven on a “class-wide basis.”

Related Web Resources:
Court OKs Class Cert. In Fraud Suit Against Lehman, Law360, August 5, 2009
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (PDF)
Continue reading