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JPMorgan slashes $710 million Lehman bankruptcy claim

Flag hangs on the wall of the JP Morgan company stall on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York
Flag hangs on the wall of the JP Morgan company stall on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York

(Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co has agreed to drop almost all of a $710 million claim against Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc's bankruptcy estate, freeing up more money to be distributed to creditors, Lehman said on Wednesday.

According to a filing by Lehman with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan, JPMorgan will drop $699.2 million of the claim.

In exchange, Lehman said it will assign other claims to various funds sponsored or managed by JPMorgan, and that those funds will also retain some collateral and cash. About 70 of the JPMorgan funds had filed claims, Lehman said.

Lehman called the settlement "a reasonable resolution" of a dispute dating to September 2009. It said the $699.2 million would be available for its first distribution to creditors once it emerges from Chapter 11.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Peck is scheduled to consider approval of the settlement at a February 15 hearing.

Peck has already approved Lehman's reorganization plan, clearing the way for what was once Wall Street's fourth-largest investment bank to exit bankruptcy in the coming weeks.

JPMorgan spokesman Joe Evangelisti said the settlement "has no financial impact" on the largest U.S. bank by assets.

A Lehman spokeswoman also confirmed the accord, without elaborating.

In a January 27 court filing, Lehman said it hopes to pay out $8.1 billion and $10.7 billion to creditors as part of an initial post-bankruptcy distribution.

Lehman still has a pending lawsuit accusing JPMorgan, once its main clearing bank, of siphoning $8.6 billion of critical assets in the last few days prior to its September 15, 2008, bankruptcy.

The bankruptcy case is In re: Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 08-13555.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Gary Hill)

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