Thomas H. Lee Partners, a private-equity firm that has a 40 percent stake in failed brokerage firm Refco Inc., has sued three former Refco executives looking to recover $245 million in losses.

The suit was filed in federal court in Manhattan against former chief executive Phillip R. Bennett, former chief executive and president Santo C. Maggio and former president Tone Grant. The suit accuses the men of failing to disclose bad debts as part of a massive accounting fraud.

Thomas H. Lee Partners invested $453 million in Refco in June 2004, and said that it spent more than $10 million and thousands of hours conducting due diligence performed by a number of paid advisors, including KPMG LLP, Grant Thornton LLP, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, McKinsey & Co., Sandler O'Neill & Partners LP and Marsh & McLennan Cos.Last week, Bennett was indicted by a federal grand jury in Manhattan on charges of hiding up to $720 million in bad debts from auditors and investors.

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