The U.S. Trustee, which oversees bankruptcy cases in New York, said on Friday it believes documents related to Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc's probe of its asset sale to a Barclays Plc unit should be made public, according to court documents.
Earlier this month, Lehman asked a judge to revisit the Sept. 2008 sale of Lehman's core U.S. brokerage to Barclays Capital, claiming that the British bank reaped an improper $8.2 billion windfall profit from excess assets it took over in the deal.
About 50 pages of the request were redacted and not made public due to confidentiality agreements. Lehman's creditors' committee, Lehman and the trustee charged with liquidating the remains of Lehman's brokerage business have sought to unseal the documents.
The U.S. Trustee, a division of the Department of Justice which acts as a watchdog over bankruptcy cases in the New York region, said in court papers on Friday that the documents should be unsealed as there is widespread public interest in Lehman's bankruptcy, and the issues raised in the documents are so significant to the case.
The redactions that currently have been made appear to have been drawn with as broad a brush as possible, U.S. Trustee Diana Adams said in court papers, saying any parts of the document that remain sealed should be much more narrowly excerpted.
Lehman received approval in June to investigate whether Barclays got too good of a deal when it bought Lehman's brokerage business for its $1.75 billion purchase.
Barclays has said Lehman is making an opportunistic claim and trying to re-trade the deal now that the economy has stabilized.
A court hearing on the topic is scheduled for Oct. 15.
The case is In re: Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 08-13555.
(Reporting by Emily Chasan, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)