Lehman Brothers is Playing Ahab; Seeks to Question JPMorgan’s ‘London Whale’
Late Wednesday night, Lehman Brothers Holdings (FORMERLY NYSE:LEH) and a committee of unsecured creditors released that they believe a trader named Bruno Iksil played a much larger role than previously thought in the circumstances that warranted a May 2010 lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase and Co. (NYSE:JPM). Iksil, known in the industry as the London Whale, was working under JPMorgan at the time. According to Reuters, Lehman has submitted a request to have Iksil answer questions regarding trades that he oversaw that potentially led to an “unjustified multi-millon dollar collateral call” six days before Lehman filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection.
In addition to questioning Iksil about his involvement in the situation, Reuters says that Lehmans and the committee also want to investigate how the investment office handled JPMorgan’s exposure to Lehman.
Back in May, JPMorgan disclosed billions in losses at the hands of Iksil, who earned his nick name ‘The London Whale” because his positions were so large. Bloomberg reports that JPMorgan was instrumental in lending to Lehman, through the 2008 financial meltdown. JPMorgan has agreed to allow Lehman to investigate the relationship between the trader’s significant losses and the firm’s following demise, which could be a direct result to the collateral call issued in 2008. Lehman has been after $8.6 billion from JPMorgan since 2008…
JPMorgan, who continued to post profits throughout the financial crisis, has been the subject of multiple probes and lawsuits as lawmakers and other Wall Street organizations look into the record loss that JPMorgan accumulated last year, which exceeded $6.2 billion dollars. Shareholder value in the firm decreased by some $51 billion, Bloomberg reports.
Although Bruno Iksil, a French national, has refused questioning by Lehman, JPMorgan’s cooperation in allowing Lehman to investigate shows their effort to try and distance themselves from the losses that were allegedly perpetrated by Mr. Iksil. A court order to question Iksil (his lawyers have indicated that he refuses to cooperate otherwise) could shed some light on what happened in the days leading up to Lehman’s Chapter 11 filing, and could even result in a refreshed direction in Lehman’s efforts to compensate their shareholders of some $65 billion. They expect to continue to liquidate their holdings through 2016.