Thain Accuses BofA of Lying About Bonuses

Fired Merill CEO tries to 'set the record straight' about $3.6B payout
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2009 8:21 AM CDT
Thain Accuses BofA of Lying About Bonuses
Former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain leaves the building that houses the office of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Feb. 24, 2009 in New York.   (AP Photo)

In his first lengthy interview since being pushed out as CEO of Merrill Lynch, John Thain tells the Wall Street Journal that Bank of America—which acquired Merrill in September—is lying about its involvement in the $3.6 billion in bonus payouts that made Thain the poster boy for corporate greed. “Getting fired is one thing,” Thain said. “But nobody has the right to say things that they know aren't true.”

Thain, 53, says BofA chief Ken Lewis sacked him as a scapegoat for Merrill's awful fourth-quarter results, when in actuality he was “completely transparent” about the investment bank's books. “I want to set the record straight,” Thain says, though his colleagues on Wall Street see an uphill battle: Notes John Reed, former head of Citigroup, “Right now, John is radioactive.” (More John Thain stories.)

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