By Francesco Guerrera in New York 2010-03-16
Did Dick Fuld, the former chief executive of Lehman Brothers, know about the “accounting gimmick” that enabled the firm to shift billions of dollars secretly off its balance sheet quarter after quarter?
Anton Valukas, the court-appointed examiner, concluded that there was sufficient evidence to support a claim that Mr Fuld and other executives breached their fiduciary duties by “allowing and certifying the filing of financial statements that omitted or misrepresented material information”.
He also said there was “credible evidence” to support a claim that Mr Fuld’s failure to decide to disclose the transactions was “grossly negligent or demonstrated a conscious disregard of his duties”.
Mr Fuld’s lawyer said the Lehman chief had no knowledge of “Repo 105”, a device that allowed Lehman to move assets off balance sheet to flatter its results at the end of the quarter. The lawyer added: “Nor did Lehman’s senior finance officers, legal counsel or Ernst & Young raise any concerns about the use of Repo 105 with Mr Fuld.”
Mr Valukas’s report, however, focuses on two instances during which Repo 105 was discussed by Lehman’s top executives.
First, on March 27 2008, Bart McDade, then Lehman’s “balance sheet” tsar, e-mailed materials to Mr Fuld and others for a meeting the following day. The attachments included an agenda with topics such as “Repo 105/108” [Repo 108 was a similar device] and a presentation detailing that Lehman had used Repo 105 to move $49bn (€35.6bn, £32.3bn) off its balance sheet in the first quarter of 2008. The examiner said that Mr Fuld’s lawyer told him that Mr Fuld did not use a computer and did not “have the ability to open attachments” on his BlackBerry. Mr Fuld did not attend the March 28 meeting because he had other calls to make.
The second meeting took place in June 2008 between Mr McDade, who had been promoted to the roles of president and chief operating officer, and Mr Fuld. Mr McDade told the examiner he had walked Mr Fuld through a presentation that showed Lehman had been using Repo 105 to the tune of billions of dollars in the previous three quarters. Mr McDade also recalled that he had recommended to Mr Fuld that the use of Repo 105 be curbed.
The executive said that Mr Fuld asked him: “Is it doable? Is it necessary? If so . . . go do it,” according to the report.
Mr McDade’s conclusion was that Mr Fuld “was familiar with the term ‘Repo 105’ ” and “knew about the accounting of Repo 105”, Mr Valukas writes.
英国《金融时报》 弗朗西斯科•格雷拉 纽约报道 2010-03-16
凭借一种“会计花招”，雷曼兄弟(Lehman Brothers)得以暗中一个季度接着一个季度地把数十亿美元转移出资产负债表。该公司前首席执行官迪克•富尔德(Dick Fuld)当时是否知道这个花招？
富尔德的律师表示，这位雷曼前首席执行官对“回购105”(Repo 105)一无所知。回购105是一种能让雷曼把资产转移出资产负债表、从而在季度末粉饰该公司财报的手段。这位律师补充称：“雷曼的高级财务人员、法律顾问以及安永(Ernst & Young)，也未就回购105的使用向富尔德提请过任何关注。”