Japanese Swindle Could Cost Lehman $250M

Forged docs from Japanese firm secured big loans
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 29, 2008 8:44 AM CDT
Lehman Brothers headquarters is shown in New York's Times Square on Tuesday, March 18, 2008.    (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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(Newser) – Possible fraud involving forged documents from a Japanese trading firm may have cost Lehman Brothers $250 million, the Wall Street Journal reports. The investment bank loaned funds to a Japanese biotech firm last year; the transaction was secured by top trading company Marubeni Corp. But the biotech firm filed for bankruptcy March 19, and the funds still haven’t been paid back.

Marubeni claims to be a victim of identity theft, possibly involving several of its own employees. Lehman has filed a criminal complaint with Japanese police and is “working closely with the authorities to seek full recovery of funds it believes to have been fraudulently misappropriated,” the company said in a statement. Reuters puts the loss at $350 million, and says Goldman may have also been scammed.