JPMorgan to pay $2.03 billion cash to settle most Lehman claims

JPMorgan Chase & Co will pay US$1.42 billion (S$2.03 billion) in cash to resolve most of a lawsuit accusing it of draining Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc of critical liquidity in the final days before that investment bank's September 2008 collapse.

The settlement was made public on Monday, and requires approval by US Bankruptcy Judge Shelley Chapman in Manhattan.

It resolves the bulk of an US$8.6 billion lawsuit accusing JPMorgan of exploiting its leverage as Lehman's main "clearing"bank to siphon billions of dollars of collateral just before Lehman went bankrupt on Sept. 15, 2008, triggering a global financial crisis.

Lehman's creditors charged that JPMorgan did not need the collateral and extracted a windfall at their expense.

The accord would permit a further US$1.496 billion to be distributed to the creditors, including a separate US$76 million deposit, court papers showed.

More than US$105 billion has already been paid to Lehman's unsecured creditors, Lehman has said. "While the Settlement Agreement is not a global resolution of all issues between the parties, it ends a significant portion of their disagreements," lawyers for Lehman and its creditors said in court papers. "The compromises set forth in the Settlement Agreement are a fair and equitable resolution." JPMorgan declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Lehman also declined to comment.

The settlement is not expected to have a material impact on JPMorgan's earnings, a person familiar with the matter said.

Both sides settled nearly four months after US District Judge Richard Sullivan ruled for JPMorgan, saying the largest US bank had no obligation to keep Lehman alive and did not defraud it into providing collateral.

Once Wall Street's fourth-largest bank, Lehman reported US$639 billion of assets when it filed for Chapter 11 protection, making its bankruptcy by far the largest in US history.

Lehman emerged from bankruptcy in March 2012, and has since been winding down.