Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lehman Administrators Hire Korean Housewife

Two and a half years after its collapse the administrators of Lehman Brothers - who are still trying to untangle the complex web of financial contracts the failed investment bank was involved in - have finally admitted defeat and employed Korean housewife, 32 year-old Kim, to help them.

Many in the global financial community have been shocked by the appointment, but not her American husband, 35 year-old Mark, who admits that any money he gives his wife also seems to completely disappear. Mark told us when they married he made the mistake of agreeing to hand over his monthly paycheck to Kim on the basis that "this is what Korean men do". He added "Since I don't really speak Korean, I thought it made sense for her to handle our financial affairs, especially as I was very busy with my job and she was a housewife."

Mark admits that when his marriage went through a rough patch last year, he started wondering where the money his wife insisted was spent on bills had gone. "I knew power bills were expensive in Korea, but one of my colleagues told me that there was no way we should be paying the $400 a month on electricity my wife claimed it cost". Increasingly suspicious of the vague claims of savings for the future he'd been told about he sought outside help. "I asked a buddy of mine, who works as a forensic accountant back in the States, to look through our bank accounts, and he told me he'd never seen anything like it."

It seems that eventually the entire company of accountants were drawn into investigating a complex network of up to thirty personal bank accounts and credit cards belonging to Kim, and several dozen other personal and business accounts belonging to Kim's close family members which money seems to have been transferred through multiple times. Mark says his friend eventually told him that they couldn't identify the ultimate destination, and Lehman's missing money might be easier to find than the money he'd handed over to his wife.

The story of the Korean housewife's money management system spread quickly around the American financial community, attracting the attention of Lehman Brothers' administrators, who conducted their own investigation into Kim's financial affairs and were so impressed with what they found that they immediately offered her a job. They are said to be hopeful that having constructed her own seemingly impenetrable financial web, she will be able to deconstruct the one Lehman created before its collapse.

Mark is glad that his wife now has a job, but laments the very small salary she is being paid for her efforts.