Lehman's landlord lodges $4.3bn claim

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The Independent Online

Canary Wharf Group, the owner of much of London's financial district, has filed a $4.3bn claim with the administrators of Lehman Brothers for unpaid rent and other charges relating to the collapsed bank's London headquarters. The filing, which joins those of other creditors, was made to meet the 22 September deadline on which all claims against the bank must be made. Directors of companies owed money by bankrupt firms have a fiduciary duty to make claim.

Under the lease agreement, Lehman Brothers Holding Inc owes Heron Quay (HQ2) T1 Ltd, a subsidiary of Canary Wharf Group, $2.6bn in rent after signing a 30 year tenancy agreement in 2003 for the bank's former European headquarters at 20-25 Bank Street. The lease is due to expire in July 2033 and includes provisions for $1.65bn in taxes and other charges. The filing has been made in New York with the bank's US administrators Epiq Bankruptcy Solutions.

The move is an administrative function rather than a genuine attempt to recoup the money from Lehman's administrators. The property group is still receiving rent from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Lehman's UK administrator, while the US insurance group AIG has ringfenced £224m to pay the rent until at least 2015.

PwC is expected to occupy the Canary Wharf site until 2011, when Canary Wharf Group will be able to let the site again.

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