PwC in fight with US firms over Lehman

THE ADMINISTRATORS of Lehman Brothers in the UK and the US are set to face off in a new row about the details of the former Wall Street giant&rsquo;s bankruptcy proceedings.<br /><br />US administrators including KPMG and Alavarez &amp; Marsal want the bankruptcy to be managed in a globally co-ordinated fashion, with all creditors subject to the same procedures.<br /><br />The court-appointed administrators signed a protocol yesterday that they said should &ldquo;alleviate both the disruption resulting from these filings as well as the lack of an international governing body with uniform oversight&rdquo;.<br /><br />But PricewaterhouseCoopers, the firm handling the administration of Lehman&rsquo;s UK and European businesses (LBIE), wants the bankruptcy managed according to local rules and the varied interests of creditors.<br /><br />Tony Lomas, the lead administrator in the UK and Europe for PwC, said the US approach would cause more problems than it would solve.<br /><br />He said: &ldquo;A major problem with the proposed protocol is that it is likely to unfairly raise affiliates&rsquo; expectations of the level of access and information that it will provide, laying the foundations for potential disputes between parties later in the process.&rdquo;<br /><br />He said PwC had already reached satisfactory agreements with interested parties and deemed an international protocol &ldquo;unnecessary, insufficiently tailored and unacceptably burdensome on LBIE and therefore its creditors generally&rdquo;.<br /><br />The row is likely to delay the insolvency proceedings because Lehman&rsquo;s UK estate held around a third of the roughly $630bn (&pound;395m) in assets owned by the group before it filed for bankruptcy, as well as documents essential to bankruptcy proceedings at European subsidiaries.