Dept. of "D'oh!"

It's hard to find words for this:
The German Finance Ministry declared itself shocked -- shocked! -- on Wednesday at the news that a state lending bank, KfW, had transferred €300 million ($426 million) to Lehman Brothers in New York on Monday, just after the investment bank collapsed.


The trouble is, KfW is overseen by the Finance Ministry, among other elements of the German government, and the country's finance minister, Peer Steinbr├╝ck, holds ultimate responsibility for the bank's health.


The money transfer between KfW and Lehman was called an erroneous swap -- a swap being a derivative agreement between two parties to exchange one stream of cash flow for another.
That's the only English-language source I could quickly find, but it's not very clear. Judging from what I read and heard elsewhere, here's what happened: A KfW computer executed a preprogrammed command to send 300 million euros to Lehmann Brothers, who in turn would have been obliged to return an appropriate amount of US dollars. Problem: Lehmann Brothers is bankrupt. Hence: No money will come back. In other words, KfW flushed 300 million down the toilet. All of which is taxpayer money.

Oh, well...

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