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Exclusive: In Lehman Fallout, 'Old And Stupid' Investors Burned In Germany

A couple who lost 10,000 euros when Lehman Brothers went bankrupt is now suing the Haspa savings bank that sold them the Lehman-backed derivatives. As the German Federal Court nears a decision, disturbing allegations have emerged about the bank's

Exclusive: In Lehman Fallout, 'Old And Stupid' Investors Burned In Germany

Worldcrunch NEWSBITES

At the offices of Hamburger Sparkasse AG (Haspa), they were known as "Alte & Doofe" -- "A & D" for short -- which translates as "old and stupid." The reference was to some of the 3,700 clients who were sold Lehman-backed derivatives, known as "certificates' in Germany, by Haspa, Germany's largest sparkasse savings bank.

When Lehman went bankrupt three years ago, instead of compensating all those who sustained losses Haspa partially compensated some 1,000 investors while most received what the bank called "a small gesture" to make up for losses sustained. Token "gestures' recommended in internal memos, of which Süddeutsche Zeitung and NDR radio have obtained copies, included a bouquet of flowers or an invitation to dinner. The memos also include advice for dealing with furious clients.

Two such clients, who received neither money nor flowers, were Bernd and Brigitte Krupsky from Hamburg. They lost their 10,000-euro investment and filed a suit against Haspa. The case is now before the German Federal Court, which will make a decision on Sept. 27. This is the first time that the country's top court will rule on a suit brought by a Lehman victim -- and lay down to what extent the bank should have informed their clients about risks.

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García Márquez And Truth: How Journalism Fed The Novelist's Fantasy

In his early journalistic writings, the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez showed he had an eye for factual details, in which he found the absurdity and 'magic' that would in time be the stuff and style of his fiction.

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