Force ex-Merrill Lynch CEO to talk, Cuomo asks

John O'Brien Feb. 23, 2009, 5:16pm


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo wants a state judge to force former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain to disclose the specifics of the company's executive bonuses given last year.

Thain reportedly refused to give Cuomo the information he wants, leading the first-term Democrat to file the action Monday. Merrill Lynch gave out $3.6 billion in bonuses before it was taken over by Bank of America.

Merrill Lynch, before the acquisition, rushed bonuses of at least $1 million to 696 employees, with $121 million going to the top four, Cuomo says. Bank of America agreed in September to buy Merrill Lynch for $50 billion and finalized the deal last month.

Cuomo thinks Bank of America may have known about the bonuses and did not tell investors.

"Bank of America's instruction to a former employee without basis to answer questions about the determination and payment of particular bonus awards has no legitimate basis," Cuomo's motion said, according to a report in the London Times.

"Accordingly, the court should compel Mr. Thain to answer the questions."

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