UPDATE 1-Lehman hit by deal backed by fake Marubeni papers

sábado 29 de marzo de 2008 09:09 CET

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TOKYO, March 29 (Reuters) - U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers was defrauded of around $242 million after it and other investors were caught in a scam in Japan, a newspaper reported on Satuday, with Japanese trading house Marubeni confirming some of its staff were involved.

Another daily, Asahi Shimbun, said Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Cotización) was also among the investors, citing sources familiar with the issue. The full scale of the scam is not immediately known.

Lehman LEH.N has some 24 billion yen ($242.1 million) outstanding as a result of the deal, which involved fake documents said to be from Japan's fifth-largest trading firm Marubeni Corp (8002.T: Cotización), the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported its morning edition on Saturday.

"Lehman is highly confident that it will recover all of its exposure," a Lehman Brothers source who asked not to be named told Reuters, but declined to comment on the amount.

Lehman's Japanese affiliate issued loans to a fund operated by medical consulting firm Asclepius Ltd, a unit of Japanese biotechnology company LTT Bio-Pharma Co 4566.T.

The money was meant to go to hospitals and other institutions for equipment purchases, the newspaper said.

The U.S. investment bank grew concerned when funds were not repaid at the end of February, the Nihon Keizai said, without citing sources.

"Lehman Brothers Japan Inc. today confirmed that it is working closely with the authorities to seek full recovery of funds it believes to have been fraudulently misappropriated from transactions in which an affiliate provided financing," Lehman said in a statement on Saturday.   Continuación...