When it wasn't busy blowing up the economy, Bloomberg reports, Lehman Brothers was trading uranium—the same stuff that George Bush famously claimed Saddam Hussein was importing from Niger. Funny, we invaded Iraq for that.
And they didn't have any! But Dick Fuld could apparently be trusted with the stuff. The bankrupt investment bank owns enough yellowcake uranium to build a nuclear bomb.
Lehman acquired a total of 500,000 pounds of uranium before it went under, and it's been sitting on it ever since, waiting for uranium prices to go up before it can sell it off:
A supply of 500,000 pounds of yellowcake is just "slightly" less than the amount needed to make one bomb, or fuel one nuclear power reactor for a year, if the latest enrichment technologies are used, said Gennady Pshakin, an Obninsk, Russia-based nonproliferation expert.
Lehman, before filing for bankruptcy protection in September, actively traded commodities in the broker-dealer market and on exchanges such as the London Metal Exchange and the New York Mercantile Exchange. After filing, it began unloading holdings of everything, including greenhouse-gas credits, traders said. Uncertainty about the bank's plans for its uranium is helping to depress prices, Wong said.
The nuclear material, which is stored safely in Canada, is worth about $20 million at current prices. Lehman still has about $200 billion in unsecured liabilities left to pay, so selling it off would only net a drop in the bucket compared to the company's debts.
Which is why Dick Fuld is going to return to the company, build a bomb, hold a mid-size American city ransom, and play the comic-book villain he was born to be.