Hey, Whatever Happened to Lehman Brothers?: Ritholtz Chart

Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg View columnist. He founded Ritholtz Wealth Management and was chief executive and director of equity research at FusionIQ, a quantitative research firm. He blogs at the Big Picture and is the author of “Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy.”
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I've been paying attention to so many other stories that I almost let the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers' Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing (it was six years to-the-day yesterday) slip by unnoticed.

That would be a shame.

Six years after Lehman's collapse, only about $88.8 billion out of $341 billion is expected to be recovered for creditors, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal. That is a touch more than 25 cents on the dollar.

The lack of criminal prosecution for the bank's accounting fraud may be even more surprising. Lehman's notorious Repo 105 program hid enormous financial weakness, moving billions in liabilities off its balance sheet then putting them back onto the books a few days later -- this was especially useful at the end of the quarter. This was fraud plain and simple. At least, that was the conclusion of a detailed report by the court-appointed Lehman examiner.

Oh well, justice can only be delayed for so long; then it becomes completely forgotten.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Barry L Ritholtz at britholtz3@bloomberg.net