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Lehman sues JPMorgan for billions in damages: REUTERS

Lehman sues JPMorgan for billions in damages: REUTERS


Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK
Wed May 26, 2010 7:56pm EDT

The JP Morgan and Chase headquarters is seen in New York in this January 30, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc (LEHMQ.PK) on Wednesday sued JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), accusing the second-largest U.S. bank of illegally siphoning billions of dollars of desperately-needed assets in the days leading up to its record bankruptcy.

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The lawsuit filed in Manhattan bankruptcy court accused JPMorgan of using its “unparalleled access” to inside details of Lehman’s distress to extract $8.6 billion of collateral in the four business days ahead of Lehman’s September 15, 2008, bankruptcy, including $5 billion on the final business day.

JPMorgan was Lehman’s main “clearing” bank, in which it acts as a go-between in Lehman’s dealings with other parties.

According to the complaint, JPMorgan knew from this relationship that Lehman’s viability was fast weakening, and threatened to deprive Lehman of critical clearing services unless it posted an excessive amount of collateral.

“With this financial gun to Lehman’s head, JPMorgan was able to extract extraordinarily one-sided agreements from Lehman literally overnight,” the complaint said. “Those billions of dollars in collateral rightfully belong to the Lehman estate and its creditors.”

Lehman also said JPMorgan officials including Chief Executive Jamie Dimon decided to extract the collateral after learning from meetings with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and then-U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that the government would not rescue Lehman from bankruptcy.

In the widely expected lawsuit, Lehman and its official committee of unsecured creditors are seeking $5 billion of damages, a return of the collateral and other remedies.

JPMorgan spokesman Joe Evangelisti called the lawsuit “meritless,” and said the bank will defend against it.

Any money recovered could increase the payout to creditors. Lehman has also sued Barclays Plc (BARC.L) to recover an $11.2 billion “windfall” from the takeover of U.S. assets.

In March, a bankruptcy judge approved an accord providing for JPMorgan to return several billion dollars of assets to Lehman’s estate, but giving Lehman a right to sue further.

Lehman collapsed after letting its balance sheet swell through exposure to commercial real estate, subprime mortgages and other risky sectors. With $639 billion of assets, Lehman was by far the largest U.S. company to go bankrupt.

EXAMINER REPORT

In his March report on Lehman’s bankruptcy, court-appointed examiner Anton Valukas said Lehman could raise a “colorable claim” against JPMorgan over the collateral demands.

He nevertheless said JPMorgan could raise “substantial defenses” under U.S. bankruptcy law.

Evangelisti contended that “as the examiner’s report makes clear, it was the ill-advised decisions of Lehman and its principals to take on perilous leverage and to double down on subprime mortgages and overpriced commercial real estate — and not conduct by our firm — that led to Lehman’s demise.”

Lehman, though, maintained that JPMorgan extracted the collateral to “catapult” itself ahead of other creditors.

“A century ago, John Pierpont Morgan used his position atop the world of finance to shore up a teetering firm and rescue the nation from the brink of financial collapse,” the complaint said, referring to the Panic of 1907.

“A century later, when the nation faced another epic financial crisis, Morgan’s namesake firm stripped a faltering Lehman Brothers of desperately needed cash,” it added.

The case is In re: Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc et al, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 08-13555.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Additional reporting by Matthew Goldstein; Editing by Phil Berlowitz, Bernard Orr,Gary Hill)

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U.S. drops criminal probe of AIG executives: REUTERS

U.S. drops criminal probe of AIG executives: REUTERS


The logo of American International Group Inc. (AIG) on the outside of their corporate headquarters in New York, November 10, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Segar

The logo of American International Group Inc. (AIG) on the outside of their corporate headquarters in New York, November 10, 2008. Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

(Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department has dropped a probe of American International Group Inc executives involving the credit default swaps that sent the insurer to the brink of bankruptcy and forced a huge taxpayer bailout, lawyers for the executives said on Saturday.

The investigation had centered on AIG Financial Products, which nearly brought down the giant insurer after writing tens of billions of dollars on insurance-like contracts on complex securities backed by mortgages that turned out to be toxic.

The U.S. government stepped in with a $182 billion bailout to avert a bankruptcy filing by AIG.

The criminal probe had focused on whether Joseph Cassano, who ran the financial products unit, and Andrew Forster, his deputy, knowingly misled investors about the company’s accounting losses on its credit default swaps portfolio.

“Although a 2-year, intense investigation is tough for anyone, the results are wholly appropriate in light of our client’s factual innocence,” F. Joseph Warin and Jim Walden, Cassano’s lawyers, said in a statement.

Forster’s lawyers also confirmed the probe had been dropped.

“We were very pleased but not surprised to hear from the DOJ late yesterday that they were dropping the criminal investigation of our client,” David Brodsky, one of Forster’s lawyers, said in a statement. “In the end, the facts were stronger than the emotions surrounding AIG’s problems.”

The Department of Justice declined to comment.

AIG said in a statement it welcomed the decision’

The Wall Street Journal first reported on Friday that the two-year investigation, one of the highest profile of the various probes stemming from the 2008 financial meltdown, had been dropped.

The FBI and other government agencies had been looking into whether Cassano misled investors with overly optimistic forecasts about the extent of the firm’s exposure to securities backed by risky subprime mortgages.

Investigators were said to have focused on a December 2007 investor presentation at which Cassano played down the market value of losses on the credit default swaps.

Over the course of the next year, AIG took writedowns of more than $40 billion on the swaps and had to put up billions more in collateral to counterparties like Goldman Sachs.

Cassano resigned under pressure in March 2008 as AIG’s financial situation began to weaken.

(Additional Reporting by Jim Marshall in Chicago and Jim Vicini in Washington; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Deutsche Bank Faces U.S. Mortgage Securities Suit: REUTERS

Deutsche Bank Faces U.S. Mortgage Securities Suit: REUTERS


Deutsche Bank Faces U.S. Mortgage Securities Suit

Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) faces a U.S. class-action lawsuit over mortgage-related securities it helped arrange, Germany’s biggest lender said in its first-quarter report.

April 27, 2010

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Deutsche Bank faces a U.S. class-action lawsuit over mortgage-related securities it helped arrange, Germany’s biggest lender said in its first-quarter report.

But it tried to distance itself from a whirlwind sweeping Wall Street rival Goldman Sachs by revealing it had not been informed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of any imminent charges.

It said the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco had filed suit regarding the role a number of financial institutions, including Deutsche Bank affiliates, had played as issuer and underwriter of certain mortgage pass-through certificates purchased by the San Francisco-based bank.

“In addition, certain affiliates of Deutsche Bank, including DBSI, have been named in a putative class action pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York regarding their roles as issuer and underwriter of certain mortgage pass-through securities,” it said.

“On April 5, 2010, the Court granted in part and denied in part Deutsche Bank’s motion to dismiss this complaint. Each of the civil litigations is otherwise in its early stages.”

Continue reading…. REUTERS

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



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Goldman's "Fabulous" Fab's conflicted love letters: Reuters

Goldman's "Fabulous" Fab's conflicted love letters: Reuters


NEW YORK/WASHINGTON
Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:57pm EDT
.
(Reuters) – Fabrice Tourre and his girlfriend talked like a couple very much in love.They emailed back and forth about how they wanted to curl up in each other’s arms and how they looked forward to tender moments together. Tourre, a Goldman Sachs bond trader, also wrote in the emails of the impending collapse of the subprime mortgage market and how he was masterminding ways at Goldman to make money from it.

Little did they know that three years later these very personal emails written through Tourre’s Goldman Sachs e-mail account would become part of one of the biggest investigations into the subsequent financial crisis.

In the email exchanges between Tourre and his girlfriend, Marine Serres, Tourre comes off as a young, hotshot trader who foresaw the subprime meltdown while still selling shoddy subprime-backed products so prolifically he could peddle them to “widows and orphans.”

But Tourre — the only individual the Securities and Exchange Commission charged in its fraud case against the firm — also seems ethically conflicted.

“Anyway, not feeling too guilty about this, the real purpose of my job is to make capital markets more efficient and ultimately provide the U.S. consumer with more efficient ways to leverage and finance himself, so there is a humble, noble and ethical reason for my job 😉 amazing how good I am in convincing myself !!!” Tourre said in an e-mail to Serres in January 2007.

That portion of the e-mail reflecting Tourre’s conflicted views on his role in the subprime meltdown immediately followed another part of the e-mail that the SEC released in its complaint earlier this month.

The SEC’s complaint only included Tourre referring to himself as “fabulous Fab” and talking about “standing in the middle of all these complex, highly leveraged, exotic trades he created without necessarily understanding all of the implications of those monstrosities!!!”

The SEC left out Tourre’s ethical musings in its complaint.

Goldman Sachs released the Tourre emails over the weekend as it readies for its appearance before a Senate panel on Tuesday. Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein and Tourre are scheduled to testify, along with other former and current executives.

The collection of e-mails also show that Tourre was not the only person at Goldman with confidence the subprime market was doomed.

Daniel Sparks, a former head of the mortgages department at Goldman, is also expected to testify on Tuesday before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

“According to Sparks, that business is totally dead, and the poor little subprime borrowers will not last so long!!!” Tourre wrote in a March 7, 2007, email to his girlfriend.

Tourre — who refers to Serres at one point as a “super-smart French girl in London” — also tells her about selling to unwitting investors the type of synthetic collateralized debt obligation, or CDO, at the center of the SEC case.

The SEC charges that Tourre and Goldman fraudulently marketed an “Abacus” CDO by hiding vital information from investors, including the role that hedge fund Paulson & Co played in picking mortgage products tied to the CDO. Paulson & Co betted against the CDO.

“Just made it to the country of your favorite clients!!! I’m managed (sic) to sell a few abacus bonds to widow and orphans that I ran into at the airport, apparently these Belgians adore synthetic abs cdo2,” Tourre wrote in June 2007.

Earlier in 2007, in an e-mail to a friend, Tourre shares his fears that the product he helped create is crumbling — and he has a sense of humor about it.

“It’s bizarre I have the sensation of coming each day to work and re-living the same agony – a little like a bad dream that repeats itself,” Tourre writes. “In sum, I’m trading a product which a month ago was worth $100 and which today is only worth $93 and which on average is losing 25 cents a day …That doesn’t seem like a lot but when you take into account that we buy and sell these things that have nominal amounts that are worth billions, well it adds up to a lot of money.”

He added, “When I think that I had some input into the creation of this product (which by the way is a product of pure intellectual masturbation, the type of thing which you invent telling yourself: “Well, what if we created a “thing”, which has no purpose, which is absolutely conceptual and highly theoretical and which nobody knows how to price?”) it sickens the heart to see it shot down in mid-flight… It’s a little like Frankenstein turning against his own investor ;)”

Tourre, 28 when he wrote the emails, reflects on the strangeness of being so young, yet being in such a critical role with pressures from those above him at the firm to make money.

“… I am now considered a “dinosaur” in this business (at my firm the average longevity of an employee is about 2-3 years!!!) people ask me about career advice. I feel like I’m losing my mind and I’m only 28!!! OK, I’ve decided two more years of work and I’m retiring.”

(Reporting by Steve Eder in New York and Karey Wutkowski in Washington; Editing by Bernard Orr)

© 2010-17 FORECLOSURE FRAUD | by DinSFLA. All rights reserved.



Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, goldman sachs, scamComments (0)

U.S. Probing LPS Unit Docx LLC: Report REUTERS

U.S. Probing LPS Unit Docx LLC: Report REUTERS


By REUTERS Published: April 3, 2010
Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A unit of Lender Processing Services Inc, a U.S. provider of paperwork used by banks in the foreclosure process, is being investigated by federal prosecutors, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the newspaper said a government probe into the business practices of the LPS unit was “criminal in nature.” According to the report, the probe was disclosed in LPS’s annual report in February.

The subsidiary being investigated is Docx LLC, which processes and sometimes produces documents used by banks to prove they own mortgages, the report said.

According to the report, among Docx documents being reviewed was one that incorrectly claimed an entity called “Bogus Assignee” was the owner of the loan.

The report cited LPS spokeswoman Michelle Kersch as saying that the “bogus” phrase was used as a placeholder and that some documents had been “inadvertently recorded before the field was updated.”

(Writing by James B. Kelleher)

Posted in concealment, conspiracy, corruption, DOCX, foreclosure fraud, foreclosure mills, Lender Processing Services Inc., LPS, Lynn Szymoniak ESQComments (2)

Wall Street cabal seen derailing serious swap reform: REUTERS

Wall Street cabal seen derailing serious swap reform: REUTERS


NEW YORK
Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:05pm EDT

(Reuters) – A major crisis is building in the derivatives market yet a cabal on Wall Street is blocking the formation of a clearing house that could stop the next financial meltdown, a senior official with the Kauffman Foundation said on Tuesday.

The need for disclosure in the swap markets is enormous, yet the will to act is missing because of a small cadre of special interests, said Harold Bradley, who oversees almost $2 billion in assets as chief investment officer at Kauffman.

“There is no incentive from the moneyed interests in either Washington or New York to change it,” Bradley told the Reuters Global Exchanges and Trading Summit in New York.

“I believe we are in a cabal. There are five or six players only who are engaged and dominant in this marketplace and apparently they own the regulatory apparatus,” he said. “Everybody is afraid to regulate them.”

U.S. and European officials are trying to craft new rules to regulate the $450 trillion private derivatives market in broad efforts to avoid another financial crisis.

Policy-makers generally agree that most standardized derivatives should be traded on exchanges or cleared through a clearinghouse, which would assume the risk of a default.

Bradley said those efforts fall short. There needs to be a national market system for fixed income and credit with displayed prices and the posting of open interest and market positions, he said.

Instead, he said regulators have found a boogeyman in high-frequency trading, which has taken the focus off the highly levered derivatives market. After falling in 2008, the nominal value of derivatives is now greater than ever at about $204.3 trillion, according to Ned Davis Research Inc.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting a broad review of equity market structure, centered on high-frequency trading, often referred to by the initials HFT.

High-frequency traders, who account for an estimated 60 percent of trading on U.S. equity markets, use rapid-fire trading software to buy and sell stocks.

Fears that high-frequency trading could spark the next market meltdown are unfounded, Bradley and other speakers at the summit said.

“We’re going to talk about high-frequency trading instead of the flash points that set off nuclear bombs around our financial markets,” Bradley said, referring to the ever-expanding and loosely regulated market for derivatives.

Complaints about electronic trade are coming from the largest U.S. asset management firms and the investment banks that have lost business to these new operations, Bradley said.

“This is a classic Wall Street land grab. You create an acronym, you basically castigate somebody as villainous and then you regulate them because they’re taking somebody’s profits away,” he said.

Scrutiny of high frequency trading is unwarranted because the U.S. stock market functioned “unbelievably well” during the height of investor panic in late 2008 and early 2009, he said.

“I’d like anyone to show me what didn’t work. (The market) never seized, costs stayed really low,” Bradley said.

“The money that the high frequency traders are taking is coming right out of the old investment banks’ dealing desks’ pockets,” he said.

(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Richard Chang)

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