Barclays PLC — sued for return of an alleged "secret" $5 billion profit on the purchase of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s brokerage — responded Friday that it owes nothing and wants to be paid $3 billion it was promised earlier.

Britain's second-largest bank said in a court filing that Lehman's advisers knew Barclays might make a profit on the 2008 deal and approved it anyway. At issue is $45 billion Barclays paid as part of the purchase in return for securities valued at $49.7 billion. The sale was made just after Lehman declared bankruptcy on Sept. 15, 2008, amid concern that the global banking system was on the verge of collapse and the Lehman Brothers brokerage faced liquidation.

The plaintiffs "do not challenge the fact that the Barclays acquisition was far better for the Lehman estates and its creditors than the incalculable losses posed by an LBI liquidation," Barclays said in the filing. "Instead they claim the deal was too good for Barclays, and therefore ask the court to rewrite the terms of the sale."

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