Securities Law

Judge Rakoff Probes GC's Firing, Seeks 'Voluminous' Info From SEC and BofA

As he weighs whether to approve a proposed $150 million settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and Bank of America Corp. that would resolve a case alleging the bank misled investors about its Merrill Lynch & Co. merger, U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff is hungry for more information.

The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports that Rakoff on Thursday requested “voluminous information from both parties.”

The judge’s order for more information relating to the mid-merger termination of the bank’s general counsel, Timothy Mayopolous, follows a hearing Monday in which Rakoff expressed concern that his questions about Mayopolous hadn’t yet been answered. The judge said then that he wanted to personally review the record to see if there is any indication of intent on the part of bank executives to mislead shareholders.

In addition, on Thursday he asked to see material relating to the involvement of the bank’s law firm, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, the WSJ reports.

Bloomberg reports that Rakoff asked the parties to consider making changes to the proposed settlement. One change would give the court final say over who becomes Bank of America’s compensations consultant.

The parties have until Feb. 16 to submit the material, including deposition testimony and e-mail. Rakoff is expected to decide whether to approve the settlement by the end of next week.

Related coverage:

New York Times (DealBook Blog): “Rakoff Prods BofA and S.E.C. for Information”

New York Times: “Cuomo Sues Bank of America, Even as It Settles With S.E.C.”

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