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Refco creditors seek investigation

/ Source: The Associated Press

A group of creditors of commodities broker Refco Inc. is seeking bankruptcy court approval to investigate whether its former executives mismanaged the company.

In court papers filed Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, the unsecured creditors committee in Refco's Chapter 11 case want to subpoena records of 11 former officials of the New York-based brokerage, including ex-board members and two former chief executives.

Among those named in the motion are former Refco CEOs Phillip Bennett and Tone Grant, as well as seven current members of the company's board.

The creditors also want to look at the books of six firms, including Thomas H. Lee Partners, Refco's largest shareholder. Thomas H. Lee Partners invested $513 million or its stake in the brokerage, court papers said.

The creditors want to examine Refco's financial condition at the time of its August initial public offering and events surrounding ex-CEO Bennett's hidden $430 million debt to the firm, which precipitated the company's bankruptcy.

The creditors committee wants court approval to investigate Refco's Chicago-based law firm, Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw, and auditor Grant Thornton, court papers said.

The creditors are also seeking documents from ex-Refco employees Santo Maggio and Robert Trosten and Austrian bank Bank Fuer Arbeit und Wirtschaft AG, or Bawag.

Bawag lent Bennett the cash to repay the $430 million to Refco.

The creditors committee didn't ask to investigate any current Refco officers, according to court papers.

Refco Inc. and 23 affiliates filed for Chapter 11 Oct. 17, after the firm discovered Bennett had a $430 million debt to the company.

Refco LLC, the company's regulated futures brokerage unit, wasn't part of the bankruptcy filing and is being auctioned off next week.

Bids for Refco's regulated commodities and futures arm are due Friday. The highest known bid is from Refco competitor Interactive Brokers Group LLC, which has offered $858 million.