The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has sent a letter to a score of bank CFOs asking if they used the same maneuver as Lehman Brothers to cook the books during quarterly reporting periods. In the trick, called Repo 105, a bank uses a short-term contract (a Repurchase Agreement) to exchanges assets for cash, agreeing to buy them back later at 105 percent of their value, but the firm reports the resulting cash as if it were a straight sale. This gives the temporary illusion of bank soundness and profitability.
“SEC: Did others use Lehman accounting gimmick?” AP via Salon.
“SEC to Banks: Who Else Used Repo 105?” Marian Wang, ProPublica.
“Do other firms use Lehman’s accounting ‘drug’?” Alistair Barr, MarketWatch.
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