As we approach the two-year anniversary of Washington Mutual’s bankruptcy filing, Brown Rudnick has tossed up a new roadblock to WaMu’s plans to emerge from Chapter 11. The firm, representing a bundle of securities holders, filed a 97-page complaint Wednesday accusing WaMu, its buyer (JPMorgan Chase) and the federal government of colluding to deceive and then deprive a group of securities holders who purchased about $4 billion in WaMu securities years before the bank’s demise.
The complaint is ultra-complicated, but essentially goes like this: The plaintiff investment firms purchased about $1 billion in so-called trust preferred securities issued by a trust WaMu created for the purpose of issuing those securities. They made the investments, the complaint says, under the impression that in the event of a WaMu failure, their securities would be converted into preferred stock in WaMu’s parent company. But when the bank collapsed, the complaint says, WaMu, JPMorgan and the federal Office of Thrift Supervision shifted the investors’ holdings from the parent company to the bank, which JPMorgan then acquired. The parent company then filed for bankruptcy protection.
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