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February 27, 2009

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e2809c[t]here are colorable cliams against Lehman's external auditor Ernst & Young for, among other things, its failure to question and challenge improper or inadequate disclosures in those financial statements.e2809dAn Ernst & Young statement e-mailed to BNA March 11 said the firm's last audit of Lehman was conducted for a fiscal year ending Nov. 30, 2007, and that those financial statements were e2809cfairly presentede2809d in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.e28098Errors of Business Judgment.e28099Lehman Brothers voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 protection Sept. 15, 2008 after failing to identify a buyer or secure a federal government-financed bailout (151 DTR K-1, 8/10/09). In its bankruptcy court filing, the firm said e2809cthe onset of instability in the financial markets over the past several months created significant liquidity problemse2809d for the company.e2809cThere are many reasons Lehman failed, and the responsibility is shared,e2809d the March 11 report said. The report said Lehman executives' behavior ranged from e2809cserious but non-culpable errors of business judgment to actionable balance sheet manipulation.e2809dFinancial services lawyers contacted March 11 by BNA said the former officers who allegedly did not disclose information and manipulated financial documents may face litigation exposure because of their actions or inactions.The report specifically named former Lehman Chief Executive Officer Richard S. Fuld and former chief financial officers Christopher O'Meara, Erin M. Callan, and Ian T. Lowitt.Use of e28098Accounting Device.e28099The report also asserted that Lehman, in order to move assets off its balance sheet, used an e2809caccounting device (known within Lehman as e28098Repo 105 ) to manage its balance sheete28094by temporarily removing approximately $50 billion of assets from the balance sheet at the end of the first and second quarters of 2008.e2809dThe effect of utilizing that repo, or repurchase agreement, permitted specific Lehman transactions to be treated as sales rather than financings, which allowed the firm to move assets off its balance sheet. e2809cLehman used Repo 105 for no articulated business purpose except to reduce balance sheet [assets] at the quarter-end,e2809d the report said.e2809cLehman did not disclose its usee28094or the significant magnitude of its usee28094of Repo 105 to the Government, to the rating agencies, to its investors, or to its own Board of Directors. Lehman's auditors, Ernst & Young, were aware of but did not question Lehman's use and nondisclosure of the Repo 105 accounting transactions,e2809d the report said.In its March 11 statement, Ernst & Young stood by its auditing practices. e2809cLehman's bankruptcy, which occurred in September 2008, was the result of a series of unprecedented adverse events in the financial markets. Our last audit of the Company was for the fiscal year ending November 30, 2007. Our opinion indicated that Lehman's financial statements for that year were fairly presented in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), and we remain of that view,e2809d the statement said. def

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