The Merrill Lynch 'BonusGate' saga just won't go away. New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has written to Barney Franks, the Chairman of the US House Financial Services Committee, accusing the firm of 'corporate irresponsibility' in paying $3.6bn in bonuses in the light of the large losses it sustained in 2008. Cuomo's letter revealed that almost 700 Merrill staff bagged a bonus of over a $1m for their work last year.
According to Cuomo's letter, the top 4 bonus recipients received a combined $121 million, the next four bonus recipients received a combined $62 million, the next six bonus recipients received a combined $66 million, fourteen individuals received bonuses of $10 million or more and combined they received more than $250 million.
Twenty individuals received bonuses of $8 million or more, 53 individuals received bonuses of $5 million or more, 149 individuals received bonuses of $3 million or more. Overall, the top 149 bonus recipients received a combined $858 million, and 696 individuals received bonuses of $1 million or more! Looks like former Merrill CEO John Thain could soon find himself up on Capital Hill explaining himself.
And Financial News reports that Credit Suisse's 2008 compensation and benefits pot fell 25% last year to $6.22bn, from $8.8bn in 2007. The 'average' investment banking employee got $314,821.
Citi CEO Vikram Pandit confirmed that he got 'the new reality' by telling US lawmakers Wednesday that he had advised his board that he intended to take $1 in salary, and no bonus, until such time as his firm returns to profitability. Pandit was the only one of the eight so-called 'Wall Street titans' who were grilled Wednesday to say that he would effectively work for free. Morgan Stanley boss, John Mack, however, said that he would do so in the good times, as it was such great fun.
And BankersBall reports that hard up foreign employees, many obviously bankers, are quitting Dubai in droves - and leaving plenty of debts behind them. 'Thousands' of cars are also said to be gathering dust at Dubai Airports, as out-of-work foreigners leg it back home. And even luxury cars are being left, as values have now fallen by 40% and still there are few takers.
Finally, CNBC reports that Bernie Madoff's wife, Ruth, is said to have withdrawn millions from Bernie's self-confessed Ponzi scheme in the period immediately before her husband coughed - including $10m on the day Bernie told his sons what he had done. Not looking too good, Ruth.
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