BofA ex-CFO agrees to settle N.Y. lawsuit over Merrill

Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:22pm EDT
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By Karen Freifeld

(Reuters) - Bank of America Corp's (BAC.N: Quote) former finance chief, Joe Price, has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle a New York lawsuit that accused the bank and its former executives of misleading investors during the lender's acquisition of Merrill Lynch.

Price also agreed to not serve as an officer or director of a public company for 18 months, according to the settlement agreement.

The agreement ends the 2010 case against former Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis, Price and Bank of America linked to the 2008 global financial crisis. The bank and Lewis settled with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman last month.

New York accused the bank's executives of concealing Merrill's mounting losses from Bank of America shareholders prior to a December 5, 2008 vote on the merger, and misrepresenting the impact the merger would have on the bank's future earnings.

"This settlement is one more step in our effort to hold top financial executives accountable for their actions," Schneiderman said in a statement.

The bank paid the $7.5 million for Price, according to his attorney William Jeffress, who added that his client decided to settle to because of the toll it was taking on him and his family.

"He has denied wrongdoing all along and still denies it," Jeffress said.

Lawrence Grayson, a spokesman for Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America, declined comment on the settlement.   Continued...

A Merrill Lynch building is shown in downtown San Diego, California March 18, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake