James Giddens says that he intends to begin paying the customers of bankrupt brokerage Lehman Brothers early next year from an $18.3 billion asset pool.
Giddens, the trustee who is liquidating both Lehman and broker-dealer MF Global, said in a Friday Bloomberg report that he intended to make “a significant” payment. He did not indicate how much money customers might expect to receive. He added that large payouts must wait for remaining claims disputes to be resolved. He asked Thursday for a judge to approve the distribution.
In his court filing, Giddens said, “The trustee would like to be in a position to proceed with interim distributions to customers in early 2012, with reserves as appropriate for disputed claims. Disputes involving the largest dollar values will have to be resolved before large distributions of customer property can proceed.”
Giddens is obliged by law to distribute assets among customers equally. Records in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan indicate that so far he has accumulated $23.7 billion from settlements, litigation, and negotiation with banks and other business partners of the defunct firm. Held in reserve is a $3 billion portion of the whole, against an ongoing court dispute with Barclays Plc; Barclays bought North American businesses of the parent company, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., in 2008.