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Ernst & Young faces Lehman lawsuit: report

U.S. prosecutors in New York are set to file civil fraud charges against accounting firm Ernst & Young LLC over the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., The Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The suit, led by New York state attorney general Andrew Cuomo, could come as early as this week and may seek to impose fines and other penalties, the paper said.

No one at Ernst & Young was available for comment outside regular U.S. business hours. Andrew Cuomo's
office could not be reached for comment.

The lawsuit stems from Lehman's use of a controversial accounting technique called Repo 105, the paper said.

Lehman's court-appointed examiner, Anton Valukas, has said that the use of Repo 105, which dated back to 2001 and was used without telling investors or regulators, gave the appearance that Lehman was reducing its overall leverage levels in 2008 when it was not.

Lehman used Repo 105 to temporarily remove $50 billion US of assets from its balance sheet in 2008, according to his report released in March.
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