The Work

October 23, 2009 2:18 PM

Lehman Examiner Wants to Interview Ex-SEC Chief

Posted by Zach Lowe

The examiner investigating the collapse of Lehman Brothers has requested an informal interview with Christopher Cox, the former head of the Securities and Exchange Commission who left the agency and joined Bingham McCutchen as a partner in July. 

The SEC has not yet made Cox available for an interview with the examiner, Jenner & Block's Anton Valukas, according to an update Bingham filed in Lehman's Chapter 11 case on Thursday. 

Bingham has made several filings announcing its representation of Lehman on tax issues since the firm's acquisition in July of McKee Nelson, which had been serving as Lehman's special tax counsel throughout the bankruptcy. The main McKee lawyers involved in the Lehman matter moved to Bingham and still are handling the case. 

The SEC "is determining whether other current or former agency personnel should respond to this request for information in lieu of [Cox]," the filing states. 

Valukas, a former federal prosecutor, has subpoena power in his investigation of the events leading up to the firm's collapse, including several large cash transactions between Lehman entities in the days before the company filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 15 of last year. Valukas declined to comment. A Bingham spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment. 

In its filing, Bingham says "the firm will have no role in connection with any potential interview [of Cox], and will implement an ethical wall to avoid even the appearance of impropriety."

Ironically, some of Bingham's clients took the most aggressive stances against Lehman in the early days of the company's bankruptcy filing last fall. One Bingham client, investment fund Harbinger Capital Partners, filed the most contentious motion--a request to open Lehman's books so creditors could investigate allegedly suspicious bank transfers made shortly before Lehman's bankruptcy filing. 

And in mid-November 2008, two months after Lehman's Chapter 11 filing, Deutsche Bank (represented by Bingham) sued Lehman to reclaim $72.5 billion it accidentally transferred to Lehman more than a week after Lehman's bankruptcy filing.

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