Cuomo subpoenaed Merrill execs on bonuses

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NEW YORK - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has subpoenaed several top bankers from Merrill Lynch to question them about their bonus packages from 2008.

Merrill Lynch paid out more than $3.6 billion in bonuses, including $209 million to its top bankers, in December just prior to it announcing a $15.6 billion fourth-quarter loss. Its new owner, Bank of America, which bought the investment bank in September 2008, was powerless the stop the payments and has been locked in a row ever since. The bank blamed former Merrill boss John Thain for forcing through the payments.

Through his investigation, Cuomo is seeking to ascertain whether shareholders were properly informed about the bonus packages beforehand. The subpoenas do not name the bankers concerned, which were obtained by Cuomo after subpoenaing Thain at the end of February 2009.

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