Bankruptcy Law

Jenner's Chair, Anton Valukas, to Probe Lehman Bros. as New Examiner

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The chairman of the Chicago-based Jenner & Block law firm has been nominated to serve as the court-appointed examiner in the record-breaking Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in progress in federal court in Manhattan.

As examiner, Anton Valukas will have “the power to investigate a wide range of issues, including asset transfers or breaches of fiduciary duty before and after the bankruptcy filing,” reports DealBook. The Chapter 11 filing by Lehman on Sept. 15 is the largest ever, measured by the investment bank’s reported assets at that time.

Specifically, writes Bloomberg, “Valukas’s duties will include probing the events from Sept. 4 to Sept. 15 that may have caused Lehman to file the biggest bankruptcy in history. He will look into payments Lehman made to “insiders” and how the investment bank moved cash among its units before it sought bankruptcy protection, court papers show.”

A longtime partner at Jenner, Valukas is a former federal prosecutor known for his aggressive stance on white-collar crime during a four-year stint as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois in the late 1980s.

The bankruptcy court had asked the Lehman Brothers trustee to select an examiner after several creditors requested that one be appointed. (Other creditors, however, said that an examiner would be costly and would duplicate work already being done by the trustee.) Valukas’ selection will be final once his appointment is approved by the bankruptcy court.

An examiner must be named, according to bankruptcy law, when it would be in creditors’ interest to appoint an examiner and the unsecured debts of the bankrupt company exceed $5 million, Bloomberg reports. Creditor claims top $600 billion in the Lehman bankruptcy, the news agency notes.

Additional coverage:

Dow Jones Newswires: “Chairman of Jenner & Block named to investigate Lehman bankruptcy”

Reuters: “US Trustee names examiner to probe Lehman”

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