U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff didn’t appear impressed on Monday when presented with the $150 million settlement agreement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Bank of America Corporation.
The agreement is intended to resolve civil charges that BofA misled investors when it acquired Merril Lynch last year. Four days earlier, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed civil fraud charges against the bank and two of its top executives.
According to the Times, a skeptical Judge Rakoff remarked that the settlement amount was still small and he identified critical aspects of Cuomo’s lawsuit which were “strikingly different” when compared to the version of facts set forth by the SEC.
George S. Canellos, a lawyer for the SEC, argued the agency stuck only to provable facts in its settlement deal.
Judge Rakoff indicated that he hopes to rule by February 19 but that he would have more questions for the parties. Last year, in a controversial order, Judge Rakoff rejected an earlier $33 million settlement stemming from the acquisition.