Cuomo To Merrill: Liar! Liar!

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It looks like Andrew Cuomo finally found Eliot Spitzer’s playbook in the desk drawer of the Attorney General’s office. After weeks of investigation and speculation that it might all amount to nothing, Cuomo has come out swinging.

From the Wall Street Journal:

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo accused Merrill Lynch & Co. in a court filing Wednesday of “misleading” Congress about when directors of the securities firm decided to pay about $3.6 billion in bonuses..

According to a Nov. 24 letter included with the filing, a lawyer for Merrill told Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, that “incentive compensation decisions for 2008 have not yet been made.”

But Merrill’s compensation committee had voted nearly two weeks earlier to accelerate the bonus payments to December from January, according to testimony from the head of Merrill’s compensation committee at the time.

The disclosures mark an aggressive turn in Mr. Cuomo’s probe of bonuses paid by Merrill in its last days as an independent company, even as the firm was piling up a fourth-quarter net loss of $15.84 billion. The state-court filings raise new questions about Merrill’s decision to pay the bonuses, as well as Bank of America Corp.’s resistance to Mr. Cuomo’s investigation.

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