UPDATE 6-US pressured B of A to complete Merrill deal-Cuomo

viernes 24 de abril de 2009 04:27 CEST

* Cuomo says Lewis pressured by Bernanke, Paulson

* Treasury, Fed saw no legal reason to stop deal

* Cuomo raises questions about bailout transparency

* Shareholder pressure on Lewis to step down

* SEC actively reviewing disclosure surrounding merger (Adds SEC comment)

By Grant McCool and Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK, April 23 (Reuters) - Bank of America Corp (BAC.N: Cotización) CEO Kenneth Lewis was pressured by senior federal officials Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke to accept a merger with troubled Merrill Lynch & Co or lose his job, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday.

In a letter to senior members of congressional committees and the head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Cuomo said Lewis met then U.S. Treasury Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke in Washington in mid-December.

Cuomo said the SEC, which is charged with protecting investor interests, "appears to have been kept in the dark" about talks between the banks and federal officials that followed.   Continuación...