Peregrine Trustee Can Subpoena Firm's Banks
08/07/2012| 02:06pm US/Eastern
--Peregrine trustee to seek account information from 10 banks
--Subpoenas to be issued within days, says lawyer for trustee
--Gain Capital to take over Peregrine's New York office
A federal judge on Tuesday cleared the way for a trustee to seek financial records from banks used by Peregrine Financial Group Inc., as investigators sift the collapsed brokerage's finances.
Ira Bodenstein, the court-appointed trustee unwinding Peregrine, aims to issue subpoenas to 10 financial institutions used by the defunct firm within a few days, a lawyer representing Mr. Bodenstein said Tuesday.
The court approval Tuesday enables Mr. Bodenstein to retrieve documents from Wall Street banks including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (>> JPMorgan Chase & Co.), Citigroup Inc. (C) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (>> Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.), as well as US Bank, the institution that held Peregrine client funds that regulators say have gone missing.
Peregrine filed for bankruptcy July 10, a day after its founder and chief executive, Russell Wasendorf Sr., attempted suicide and left what authorities said was a confession detailing a nearly 20-year fraud. Regulators have estimated that approximately $215 million in client funds remain unaccounted for.
Subpoenas for financial information such as those to be sent by Mr. Bodenstein are common in bankruptcy cases, as trustees seek to establish the flow and location of funds. The trustee aims to secure information related to open and closed Peregrine accounts at the institutions.
On Monday, J.P. Morgan, which served as a clearing bank for Peregrine, objected to some terms of Mr. Bodenstein's effort to locate documents, asking Judge Carol Doyle to ensure that the bank is able to recoup all expenses tied to the trustee's search.
Mr. Bodenstein separately struck a deal with a rival currency brokerage to take over Peregrine's New York offices, according to legal documents filed late Monday.
Gain Capital Holdings Inc. (>> Gain Capital Holdings Inc) will enter a new lease for Peregrine's Fifth Avenue office in New York and pay $13,000 for an array of computers and office furniture there, according to documents filed by Mr. Bodenstein.
New York is where Peregrine maintained its currency trading desk, alongside some asset-management functions. Foreign exchange had been a top focus of the firm in recent years, as Peregrine had invested in strengthening its electronic-trading functions to attract technology-driven proprietary traders.
Gain's move to take over the offices follows the firm's hiring of several traders from Peregrine last month to Gain's institutional foreign exchange division.
--Howard Packowitz and Josh Dawsey contributed to this article
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