Cuomo: Merrill Misled Congress on Bonuses

Bank decided on bonuses earlier than claimed, he says
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2009 5:25 PM CDT
In this Dec. 11 photo, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo speaks in Albany.   (AP Photo/Mike Groll, file)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Andrew Cuomo is turning the screws a little tighter in his investigation of bonuses paid to Merrill Lynch executives. In a court filing today, the New York attorney general accused the bank of "misleading" Congress about when it decided to dole out $3.6 billion, the Wall Street Journal reports. He cited a letter written Nov. 24 in which the company said any decision on bonuses would be made at the end of the year. In fact, the decision had been made two weeks earlier, he said.

Cuomo appears to building a case of securities fraud under the state's Martin Act, which allows him to bring criminal or civil charges against Wall Street personnel. Merrill handed out the bonuses in its final days as an independent bank before being acquired by Bank of America. Cuomo wants the names of bonus recipients made public, and a judge is expected to rule on that Friday. BofA says doing so will hurt its ability to keep top workers.