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Was Barclays’ Lehman windfall unfair?

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Stacey Vanek-Smith: Today, a U.S. court today looks at one key event of the financial crisis: the collapse of Lehman Brothers. At issue: whether the British bank Barclays took advantage of Wall Street’s freefall — and ripped off Lehman’s creditors. From London, Stephen Beard reports.


Stephen Beard: Barclays bought Lehman’s U.S. brokerage business days after the company failed in the fall of 2008. The British bank paid less than $2 billion, and then made $11 billion on the deal. Barclays says it took the risk and earned the reward.

David Buik of BGC Partners in London agrees. He says when most investors were panicking, the British bank bought the Lehman assets fair and square.

David Buik: I have to say that Barclays deserve the most enormous amount of credit for having the courage to do so. It was a very dramatic time, and you know, most people thought that financially the whole place was imploding.

But Lehman’s creditors says this was an unfair windfall. In effect, Barclays stole their assets. The court case which begins in the U.S. today is likely to drag on for months, with a ruling expected by the end of the year.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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