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Bundesbank Completes Lehman Asset Sale, Aims to Avoid Loss

Germany’s Bundesbank said it has completed the sale of assets it inherited after the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and hopes to escape without a loss once insolvency proceedings are resolved.

Of the 8.5 billion euros ($11.4 billion) in loans that Lehman defaulted on, the Bundesbank has recouped 7.4 billion euros through selling the collateral, board member Joachim Nagel said in Frankfurt today. With some 800 million euros in interest and costs also owed, a total of 1.9 billion euros remains outstanding. Nagel said 760 million euros of that has already been secured and the Bundesbank is optimistic it will recover the full amount through insolvency proceedings in Germany and the U.S.

“It’s not about making a profit, but about completely realizing the outstanding claims,” he said.

Lehman Brothers Bankhaus AG, the German arm of the defunct U.S. bank, borrowed 8.5 billion euros from the European Central Bank via the Bundesbank in 2008. As collateral, Lehman deposited 33 securities with the Eurosystem, which comprises the ECB and the national central banks of euro-area member states, 32 of which were asset-backed structures.

The Bundesbank is acting on behalf of the Eurosystem to dispose of the assets and pursue claims through insolvency proceedings. If at the close of those proceedings a loss is sustained, it will be shared by the central banks of the euro area, the Bundesbank said.

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