Tags: Former | Obama | Car | Czar | Rattner | Cuomo | Suit

Former Obama Car Czar Rattner: Cuomo Suit Is ‘Close to Extortion’

Tuesday, 23 Nov 2010 01:05 PM

Steven Rattner, co-founder of Quadrangle Group LLC, said the settlement sought by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in a pension-fund kickback case is “close to extortion.”

“I have already settled in exactly the same fashion that every one of these dozen other firms have settled in,” Rattner said yesterday in an interview with the Charlie Rose television show. “And so everything else is just, frankly, close to extortion.”

Rattner agreed last week to pay $6.2 million and accept a two-year ban from the broker-dealer and investment adviser industry to settle a probe by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Cuomo sued Rattner on the same day, seeking $26 million and his lifetime ban from the securities industry in New York.

“He has basically threatened me all along the way that if I don’t do what he wants me to do, he will prosecute me to the ends of the earth,” Rattner, 58, said.

Rattner and New York-based Quadrangle won $150 million in investments from the New York state pension fund in 2005 and 2006 as part of a pay-to-play scheme, according to an SEC complaint filed in Manhattan federal court.

“Anyone who reads the extensive facts laid out in our complaint will understand that Rattner’s claims that he did nothing wrong are ridiculous and belied by the fact that he is paying the SEC $6 million,” Richard Bamberger, a spokesman for Cuomo, said in a statement last week. Bamberger referred to the statement when asked for comment today.

Quadrangle said in April that Rattner engaged in “inappropriate, wrong and unethical” conduct. Andrew Merrill, a spokesman for Quadrangle, didn’t return a call seeking comment.

“I could not believe that they would throw me overboard,” said Rattner, who is no longer part of the firm. “I was stunned by it. I was shocked beyond belief.”

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