August 11, 2009
Judge Rakoff Questions SEC Settlement with BofA
A federal district court judge, charged with approving the SEC settlement with Bank of America on the Merrill Lynch deal has delayed ruling, a very unusual move, after 90 minutes of negative questioning of the presenting lawyers. The questions were painfully obvious. A $30 million settlement over $3.6 billion in bonuses that were not properly disclosed in a $50 billion merger??? The government paid in $45 billion. Why were no executives sued??? Someone made decisions for BofA. And the government and or shareholders will pay part of the fine. Why no admission of guilt??? At some point an admission ought to be required to set up the private litigation. The private litigation, of course, is the elephant in the room. There is much to be said for and against this confluence of public/private enforcement actions. But for the moment let me say that the SEC ought not let the private actions have an effect on what it does -- as it seems to have here.
August 11, 2009 | Permalink
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