WaMu Will Face Trial in November Over $4 Billion of Low-Ranking Securities

WaMu Will Face Trial in November Over $4 Billion of Low-Ranking Securities

WaMu Will Face Trial in November Over $4 Billion of Low-Ranking Securities

By Steven Church – Aug 25, 2010 4:20 PM ET

Washington Mutual Inc., the ex-owner of the biggest U.S. bank to fail, will face a November trial in an investor lawsuit over ownership of $4 billion in low-ranking debt known as trust-preferred securities, a judge said.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Mary F. Walrath in Wilmington, Delaware, scheduled a trial for Nov. 1, the first day of a confirmation hearing on WaMu’s reorganization plan. Lawyers for WaMu and investors, including Black Horse Capital LP and Lonestar Partners LP, agree the issue must be resolved before the company can end its bankruptcy and distribute more than $6 billion to creditors.

As the confirmation hearing continues in November, other critics of WaMu’s plan may want to use any facts or arguments presented by the investors to attack the reorganization proposal, Walrath said. Shareholders claim that the holding company’s bank should never have been seized by regulators and sold to JPMorgan Chase & Co. in 2008.

“Others may want to ride your coattails,” Walrath told an attorney for Black Horse at a court hearing yesterday. “The first day of confirmation will be yours.”

In July, a group of investors sued WaMu and JPMorgan over the way the trust-preferred securities were converted from debt- like investments into equity. The investors, who bought $1 billion of the trust-preferred securities, got preferred equity in WaMu when the exchange happened just before WaMu collapsed.

‘Rampant Fraud’

Continue reading…REUTERS

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