CNN Money
By David Ellis, staff writer February 4, 2010: 4:24 PM ET

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Thursday it was bringing civil charges against senior Bank of America executives, including former company CEO Ken Lewis, for their role in the company’s controversial purchase of Merrill Lynch.

Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission said it had struck a $150 million settlement agreement with BofA over its decision to pay billions of dollars in bonuses to former Merrill employees.

Bank of America’s last-minute decision to purchase the ailing Merrill in September 2008 has remained a central issue in the wake of the financial crisis, prompting both federal and state probes into the matter.

Cuomo’s office, which has been aggressively pursuing an investigation into the merger and subsequent bonuses paid to former Merrill employees, said it was charging Lewis and Bank of America’s former chief financial officer Joe Price with fraud.

The lawsuit contends that the bank’s management team understated the losses at Merrill in order to get shareholders to approve the deal, then subsequently overstated the firm’s willingness to terminate the merger to regulators weeks later in order to get $20 billion of additional aid from the federal government.

Read Full Article

Advertisements