CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The world's worst bankruptcy was the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers financial empire. Millions of investors lost their savings, and 26,000 employees lost their jobs. It helped trigger the Great Recession that hurt many millions of people around the globe.
Now, it seems that corporate chicanery was involved -- but no federal agency has sued or prosecuted any of the executives involved. The CBS "60 Minutes" show presented this evidence:
Just before each financial report, Lehman chiefs transferred $50 billion worth of debts to Britain, through an accounting device called Repo 105, and later returned them to America. The purpose was to conceal the enormity of Lehman's debts and make the corporation seem healthier.
Lehman executive Matthew Lee spotted this shell game and wrote an internal protest saying it was "possibly unethical and unlawful." He was fired six days later.
After Lehman's collapse, Chicago lawyer Anton Valukas was engaged to study the mess and report to bankruptcy court. His 2,200-page analysis said Lehman concealed its debts from investors and federal regulators. It recommended prosecution, but none has occurred.
We hope West Virginia's members of Congress examine this sordid affair and push for federal action.