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One of the links in that thread points to Zero Hedge's Senator Kaufman Makes A Stand Against The Criminality Exposed By The Lehman Examiner Report, Questions The Core Principles Of US Democracy
Kaufman calls for a "a thorough investigation, both civil and criminal, to identify every last person who had knowledge that Lehman was misleading the public about its troubled balance sheet - and that means everyone from the Lehman executives, to its board of directors, to its accounting firm, Ernst & Young. Moreover, if the foreign bank counterparties who purchased the now infamous "Repo 105s" were complicit in the scheme, they should be held accountable as well." Zero Hedge sides with Senator Kaufman in this new endeavor (we have yet to see even one other member of Congress or the Senate stand up and voice their opposition to Lehman's criminal conduct).
(emphasis in the original removed, my emphasis added)

Now, were these foreign counterparties complicit? The odds are they were unaware of what Lehman Brothers was doing. According to the WSJ's Repos played a crucial role in Lehman's demise  (via EFinancialNews)

Marie Stewart, the former global head of Lehman's accounting policy group, told the examiner the transactions were "a lazy way of managing the balance sheet as opposed to legitimately meeting balance-sheet targets at quarter end."

Lehman's use of this accounting technique goes back to the start of the decade when Lehman business units from New York and London met to discuss how the firm could manage its balance sheet using accounting rules that had taken effect in September 2000. Lehman soon created the "Repo 105" manoeuvre: Because assets the firm moved amounted to 105% or more of the cash it received in return, Lehman could treat the transactions as sales and remove securities inventory that otherwise would have to be kept on its balance sheet.

Because no US law firm would bless the transaction, Lehman got an opinion letter from London-based law firm Linklaters. That letter essentially blessed using the manoeuvre for Lehman's European broker-dealer under English law. If one of Lehman's US entities needed to engage in a Repo 105 transaction, the firm moved the securities to its European arm to conduct the deal on the US entity's behalf, the report found. That is likely why the counterparties on the repo transactions were largely a group of seven non-US banks. These included Germany's Deutsche Bank, Barclays of the UK and Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. In a statement, a Linklaters spokeswoman said the report "does not criticise" the legal opinions it gave Lehman "or suggest or say they were wrong or improper." The law firm said it was never contacted during the investigation.

(my emphasis) This also answers Tyler Durden's question just who the hell were the counterparties?

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 17th, 2010 at 03:16:32 AM EST
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