Friday, August 13, 2010

Lehman Pointing Fingers at Och-Ziff

Nearly two years after Lehman's failure, despite the piles of evidence pointing to neglect, mismanagement and outright fraud committed by Lehman's leaders, some people still believe that short sellers caused Lehman's downfall. Lawyers for Lehman's estate are furiously subpoenaing Wall Street firms and hedge funds for documents that they think will show that rumor-mongering led to the demise of the storied investment bank. Apparently, Och-Ziff was the only target that objected outright in court to producing the documents. Oh sure, it makes the fund appear guilty, but perhaps it's the $3.3 million cost associated with producing 3.9 million documents that the fund objects to? The lawyers for Lehman's estate claim that Och-Ziff was involved in the spreading of false rumors but provided no additional evidence to support the that claim, other than the fact that Och-Ziff refuses to produce the documents.

According to the WSJ:

Och-Ziff Capital Management LLC "likely disseminated and/or was the recipient" of an inaccurate rumor that Lehman had spun off debt to two Lehman-controlled hedge funds to reduce the investment bank's leverage, according to the filing. Investors were focused on Lehman's debt levels in the months before its failure.

The rumor was one of many "lies" spread by unscrupulous market participants looking to profit from shorting the troubled investment bank's stock, alleged the filing, made on Wednesday by lawyers investigating Wall Street firms on behalf of Lehman's bankruptcy estate.

Ah yes, all those "lies" that everybody was spreading that the investment bank was insolvent and wasn't going to make it and would wind up bankrupt. Those crazy crazy untrue rumors that the investment bank was lying about its leverage ratio, its liquidity, the value of the assets on the balance sheet etc. etc. And now, we must expose those rumor-mongerers in bankruptcy court after said firm has gone bankrupt. How come nobody is subpoenaing all the real lies from all the investment pros that insisted the firm was solvent and cheap at $15 per share?

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