Lehman Sues to Reclaim $350M Lost in Swindle

Says 2 workers at Japanese trading firm ran a Ponzi scheme
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Mar 31, 2008 8:15 AM CDT
Japanese trading giant Marubeni Corp.'s headquarters is seen in Tokyo Monday, March 31, 2008.    (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara)
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(Newser) – Lehman Brothers is suing Japanese trading company Marubeni, seeking to recover $350 million lost in a scam apparently engineered by two of the company’s employees. The scheme involved forged documents purportedly bearing a board member’s seal and two meetings at Marubeni headquarters, including one with an impostor posing as an executive, reports the Wall Street Journal. Marubeni has denied wrongdoing and says it won’t pay.

Lehman invested in a funding partnership with a Tokyo pharmaceutical company that it thought was backed by Marubeni; Marubeni says it had no involvement in the deal. The scheme may stretch back three years to other investment banks. Those investments were paid back—with interest—in part by funding from later investors in what is commonly called a Ponzi scheme.