By Rachelle Younglai and Kim Dixon

October 7, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Richard Fuld, the disgraced head of Lehman Brothers, said he would wonder "until they put me in the ground" why the U.S. government did not rescue the 158-year-old Wall Street firm and claimed regulators knew the full scale of its condition far before its collapse.

Fuld said he took full responsibility for his actions ahead of the downfall of Lehman, but said U.S. regulators were aware of everything at the firm and knew how it was pricing its distressed assets in the months prior to its bankruptcy.

Despite his acceptance of his role before the collapse, U.S. lawmakers expressed outrage to Fuld about Lehman on Monday, saying that Fuld, board members, regulators and Congress all shared blame for its downfall.

"I want to be very clear. I take full responsibility for the decisions that I made and for the actions that I took based on the information that we had at the time," Fuld told a congressional panel. "I feel horrible about what has happened to the company and its effects on so many."

Fuld said he did not know why the U.S. government chose to help other financial companies, but not Lehman as it hurtled toward disaster.

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photo: Protestors hold signs behind Richard Fuld, Chairman and Chief Executive of Lehman Brothers Holdings, as he takes his seat to testify at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the causes and effects of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, on Capitol Hill in Washington, October 6, 2008. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)