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Bank of America's Lewis to skip pay day

Oct. 16, 2009 at 9:15 AM   |   Comments

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CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lewis said he would forfeit his salary for 2009 amid new revelations over the purchase of Merrill Lynch.

The deal to buy Merrill Lynch has prompted investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission, New York state and Congress, centering on critical information kept from shareholders before they voted to approve the merger last December.

Under pressure, Bank of America said it would waive its client-attorney privilege and reveal its attorneys' advice on the Merrill Lynch deal.

Documents to be handed to investigators are expected to shed light on the advice given to the bank by the legal firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Four sources said lawyers advised the bank not to tell shareholders about the depth of Merrill Lynch's losses, the Times said.

Lewis took part in discussions with bank executives, including Chief Financial Officer Joe Price and concluded shareholders did not need to be told of the losses, the Times said.

"I'm taken aback by the advice. When shareholders are asked to vote, they deserve a fine-tuned picture," said Donald Langevoort, a professor at Georgetown Law.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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