The financial secretary yesterday denied he had been lax over the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers last year and the global financial meltdown, which he described as not predictable and unprecedented. Testifying for the first time before members of the Legislative Council subcommittee investigating the Lehman minibond debacle, John Tsang Chun-wah deflected blame for the situation. Hong Kong investors lost billions of dollars on minibonds guaranteed by Lehman Brothers when the bank went bankrupt in September last year. Minibonds are not corporate bonds, but are high-risk, credit-linked derivatives. They are marketed as a proxy investment in well-known companies. Tsang also dismissed criticism from lawmakers that regulators had been too slow with investigations. Since Lehman Brothers collapsed, disciplinary action has only been taken in one non-minibond case. Tsang said many resources had gone into investigating complaints about the soured minibonds, and he hoped the non-minibond investigation could be completed by March. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority said 765 Lehman-related non-minibond complaints were currently under disciplinary consideration. A total of 334 non-minibond cases have been referred to the Securities and Futures Commission for further action. By December 9, 24,418 of the 24,688 investors, or 98.9 per cent, had agreed to settle their claims against the banks that sold them the minibonds in a deal brokered by the authority. The offer by 16 banks to repurchase soured minibonds from about 25,000 investors meant those who accepted the terms would recoup between 60 per cent and 70 per cent of their initial minibond investments. Many lawmakers and investors had expressed dissatisfaction with the offer, which they said was unfair, but Tsang argued that the settlement was in the best interests of investors. The government did not play a major role in brokering the deal, he said. 'Our role was limited to encouraging the regulators to expeditiously deal with the matter,' Tsang said. Tsang will testify again next Friday.