The Work

December 12, 2008 12:05 PM

Hughes Hubbard Lawyer Wants Lehman Execs to Talk

Posted by Zach Lowe

There's always something interesting going on in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, hailed as the largest ever. Today the news is that Hughes Hubbard & Reed partner James Gidden is stepping up his investigation of Lehman's failure.

Giddens is the court-appointed trustee overseeing the liquidation of Lehman's brokerage as called for by the Securities Investor Protection Act. It's his job to ensure that Lehman accountholders' money is transferred to other brokers (mainly to Barclays, which purchased several of Lehman's main assets shortly after Lehman filed for bankruptcy in September).

But the more exciting part of Giddens' job is interviewing witnesses and scouring documents to figure out why Lehman failed and determine whether top Lehman execs are liable for the bank's collapse. On Thursday, Giddens asked a federal bankruptcy judge in Manhattan to give him full subpoena power to interview witnesses who might be uncooperative. The filing says the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York both are anxious to hear Giddens' findings when he's done. (Download Lehman Subpoena.)

One would think Lehman CEO Richard Fuld might be one person Giddens hopes to interview. Fuld's attorney, Patricia Hynes of Allen & Overy, did not immediately return messages seeking comment. Giddens referred questions to officials at the Securities Investor Protection Corporation in Washington, D.C. They could not immediately be reached for comment.

One last note: if you think your job is hard, you don't even want to think about the work Giddens is doing with a team that also includes Hughes Hubbard partner David Wiltenburg. They've already overseen the transfer of 135,000 customer accounts out of Lehman. Those accounts hold a total of $142 billion, court records show.

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