* Bruno Iksil said to pay role in Lehman bankruptcy
* JPMorgan declines to comment; Iksil lawyer unavailable
* Lehman suing JPMorgan in $8.6 billion case
By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK, Feb 14 Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc is
seeking court permission to question the JPMorgan Chase & Co
trader known as the "London Whale" in connection with
its $8.6 billion lawsuit accusing the largest U.S. bank of
driving it into bankruptcy.
In a late Wednesday night filing in Manhattan bankruptcy
court, Lehman and a committee of its unsecured creditors said
months of disclosures about the trader, Bruno Iksil, suggest
that he played a "greater role" than previously thought in the
events underlying the May 2010 lawsuit.
They asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Peck for permission
to ask French authorities to compel Iksil's testimony.
JPMorgan spokesman Joseph Evangelisti declined to comment
about the request. A lawyer for Iksil did not immediately return
a call seeking comment.
Iksil worked for JPMorgan in London and is no longer
employed by the New York-based bank. His activities have been
linked to more than $6.2 billion of trading losses at JPMorgan's
chief investment office.
In the court filing, Lehman and its creditors committee said
Iksil's "practice of intentional mismarking" of trades warranted
an inquiry into trades he oversaw that led to an "unjustified
multimillion-dollar collateral call" on Sept. 9, 2008, six days
before Lehman filed for bankruptcy protection.
Lehman and the committee also want to examine how the chief
investment office managed JPMorgan's exposure to Lehman.
But they said Iksil's lawyers have indicated that he will
not cooperate in the absence of an official request under
international legal norms, even though JPMorgan has largely
agreed to the discovery requests.
Lehman accused JPMorgan in the lawsuit of hastening its
bankruptcy by using its "unparalleled" knowledge of its
distress, through its role as the main clearing bank handling
third-party dealings, to extract $8.6 billion of collateral in
the four business days prior to the Chapter 11 filing.
Last April, Peck narrowed Lehman's lawsuit but let stand
some claims, saying that protections given to "systemically
important" banks such as JPMorgan did not excuse them from
acting in a "commercially unreasonable" manner.
Lehman was once Wall Street's fourth-largest investment
bank, and its bankruptcy remains the largest in U.S. history.
It emerged from Chapter 11 last March, and is expected to
spend several years winding down. Lehman has said it hopes to
repay creditors about $65 billion.
The JPMorgan case is Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc et al v.
JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District
of New York, No. 10-ap-03266. The main bankruptcy case is In re:
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc in the same court, No. 08-13555.