Lehman's brokerage, Europe units settle $38 billion of claims

Fri Oct 5, 2012 1:17pm EDT
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By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - The U.S. brokerage unit and a European unit of the former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc said they settled litigation over $38 billion of asset claims, a major step toward customers and creditors recovering money.

The announcement Friday by Lehman Brothers Inc and Lehman Brothers International Europe comes four years after Lehman, once Wall Street's fourth-largest investment bank, filed for bankruptcy at the height of the 2008 global financial crisis.

James Giddens, the trustee liquidating the brokerage unit, said the accord was a "critical milestone" that would let customers recover 100 percent of their property much sooner than if LBIE litigated claims over more than 200,000 trades.

Tony Lomas, joint administrator of LBIE, said the pact enables him to focus on distributing more than $7 billion of assets.

The agreement in principle requires approval by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Peck in Manhattan - possibly in the first quarter of 2013 - and by the English High Court.

LBIE had been the U.S. brokerage unit's largest customer claimant.

The U.S. unit announced a separate accord Thursday with former Swiss-based derivatives unit Lehman Brothers Finance AG, reducing a $6 billion claim to $550 million.

Under Friday's agreement, LBIE will be allowed $8 billion in claims for customer accounts, which includes $7.5 billion in securities and cash and $500 million in cash net equity. It had earlier sought $24 billion.   Continued...

File photo of the Lehman Brothers booth on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, September 16, 2008. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Files