Barclays Sues Bear Over Collapsed Hedge Fund

Dec 20 2007 | 1:15pm ET

Just when you think things can’t get any worse for Bear Stearns, the Wall Street giant is taking another blow on the chin. The New York investment bank today announced the first quarterly loss in its 84-year history, just a day after being sued by Barclays over the collapse of one of its hedge funds this summer.

In the complaint, filed in Manhattan federal court, Barclays accuses Bear of fraud, conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty.

According to Barclays, Bear lied about the performance of the High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Enhanced Leverage Master Fund, of which Barclays said it was the “sole participating shareholder,” allegedly telling it as late as February that the fund was “having our best month ever” and that its “hedges are working beautifully.” In fact, Barclays alleges, the firm was already having “severe” liquidity problems.

Barclays also accuses Bear of using the fund to dump “excessively risky or troubled assets.”

Bear called the lawsuit, which came after negotiations between the two sides failed to produce an agreement, “an attempt by Barclays to avoid taking responsibility for its own actions.”

For the fiscal year, the company reported $1.52 earnings per share (diluted), compared with $14.27 for fiscal 2006. Bear's net income for the fiscal year was $233 million compared with $2.1 billion earned in fiscal year ended November 30, 2006 and its net revenues for the 2007 fiscal year were $5.9 billion, compared with $9.2 billion in the prior fiscal year.

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