Lehman administrators say want to hurry asset returns

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Administrators of collapsed US investment bank Lehman Brothers said on Wednesday that they would seek to fast-track the return of assets to the group's creditors.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the administrators for Lehman's London-based European division, Lehman Brothers International Europe (LBIE), said it was seeking a new "consensual approach" with creditors.

PwC said in a statement that it wanted to create an "expedient process to facilitate both the determination of unsecured creditors' claims and the payment of an interim distribution".

Under the new approach, PwC will seek to return as much as 22 billion dollars (17.9 billion euros) of assets to the collapsed bank's creditors, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The new plan would see the majority of claims agreed by the end of the year, with cash distributed "as early as possible" in 2011.

PwC added: "According to LBIE's records there are up to 6,300 counterparties who could have unsecured claims against LBIE.

"The overwhelming majority of these claims arise from a wide variety of complex financial trading arrangements."

PwC is working on behalf of more than 100 Lehman entities in Europe to establish who is owed what following the bank's collapse in September 2008, which sent the global financial system into turmoil.

Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection on September 15, 2008 and cut its ties with its subsidiaries including the British-based European arm.

© 2010 AFP

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