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9/9/08

Lehman Brothers, Moris Beracha and Venezuelan Bonds

Albert's back with another riddle!

There's something going on that involves Lehman Brothers, Moris Beracha and a whole heap of Venezuelan bonds. There's something about the combo of these three elements that's making a few people break into cold sweats today.
  • We know that Lehman Brothers (LEH) was the original emissor of structured debt paper currently being held in the Venezuelan "FONDEN" development fund holding tank.
  • We know that Beracha advised Lehman on the deal.
  • We know that a lot of the debt was paid off by the Central Bank under an initiative devised by Beracha and ex Finance minister Isea, but that policy was stopped in its tracks before the Treasury guys got round to paying off the Lehman debt.
  • We know that the structured debt is worth around U$300m and is currently at a discount to face value (we don't know what kind of discount, though).
  • We know that out of the blue last week Lehman issued a "buy PdVSA debt" call (though it should be stressed that PdVSA debt is not the same paper as the Lehman emitted structured debt in FONDEN).
  • We know that LEH stock is under severe pressure at the moment.
  • We know that Warren Buffett is famous for saying "Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked." Now whatever made me think of that one?????
So what's going on here? Can anyone put these pieces together and make a pretty picture?

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