Goldman balks at time crunch in Lehman probe

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc is rejecting accusations that it tried to stall a probe by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc into whether its descent into bankruptcy was exacerbated by false rumors.

In court papers filed Monday evening, Goldman said it should be reimbursed by Lehman for the cost of defending against the failed bank’s attempts to “harass” it with unreasonable demands for speedy document production.

Lehman in March asked Goldman to produce papers relating to rumors that may have played a role in its collapse and that may have been originated by Goldman employees. In May, the company accused Goldman of intentionally moving at a “glacial” pace to run out the statute of limitations, and asked a judge to order Goldman to impose a two-week time-limit.

Goldman said it has worked “diligently” to cooperate with the document request, a fact Lehman has chosen to ignore.

“The motion is designed purely to harass,” Goldman said, adding that Lehman “should be required to reimburse Goldman Sachs the costs it incurred in defending the motion as well as fees and costs incurred in producing documents.”

A spokeswoman for Lehman declined to comment Monday, as did a spokesman for Goldman.

Lehman filed the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history in September 2008. Goldman is part of a group of banks fighting with Lehman and other creditors for control of the roughly $60 billion payback plan for creditors.

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