Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bank of America involved in Merrill Q4 writedowns

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp was involved in accounting for fourth-quarter writedowns at Merrill Lynch & Co before it acquired the brokerage firm, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

Bank of America's chief accounting officer, Neil Cotty, was influential in determining writedowns for complex debt instruments and leveraged loans among other assets at Merrill, people familiar with the matter told the newspaper.

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch in January and sought government assistance to complete the deal after learning of massive losses at Merrill in December.

Merrill Lynch said in February it lost $15.84 billion in the fourth quarter, about $533 million more than the loss estimated by Bank of America in January.

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