Linklaters ‘could face litigation’ over explosive Lehman report

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  • I don't think anyone has suggested that Links gave an opinion that is incorrect as a matter of English law, but that is unlikely to be the issue in any US litigation.
    Post-Enron, it is generally acknowledged in US circles that any firm giving an opinion that goes to off-balance sheet matters had better understand what the opinion is being used for, and be comfortable that it is not helping its client "hide" assets. That is why there has been speculation as to whether Links knew that US firms had refused to give an opinion - the question is not whether US and English law are different, but whether Links knew what Lehman was trying to achieve.
    If Links understood the background to the opinion request, and knowingly assisted Lehman to get billions off its balance sheet for a questionable purpose (e.g. misleading investors as to the size of its liabilities), then the fact that opinion was correct as a matter of English law may not be worth much in a US court.

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  • Former Links Lawyer - perhaps the fabled Links training isn't so good - the reason why no New York firm would give the opinion is because....the law in New York in respect of repo is different to that in England.
    I agree that Links did nothing wrong - however using an English law opinion as the basis for US accounting is suspect so both Lehman execs and Ernst and Young have questions to answer.
    But Links being innocent of any wrong-doing won't mean they won't get sued - it's a deep-pocket defendant so a claim against Links is inevitable.

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  • How interesting - Links has always been the PwC 'go to' firm for all aspects of its practice. Maybe it will now be forced to come off it's arrogant high horse and use another law firm in future. Magic Circle is not always the answer.

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  • maybe a US firm - they seem to have got it right in the US at least

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  • collective emperor's new clothes syndrome? The fact is that a repo is a repo in the US or the UK so Links are well and truly exposed

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