February 4, 2010
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo unveiled a major legal action against senior Bank of America executives Thursday over its controversial purchase of Merrill Lynch, including bringing civil charges against its former CEO Ken Lewis.
[efoods]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 chief financial officer Joe Price, who was recently appointed to lead the firm’s consumer banking business.
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 in order to get $20 billion of additional aid from the federal government.
“Bank of America, through its top management, engaged in a concerted effort to deceive shareholders and American taxpayers at large,” Cuomo said in a statement.