Reports: Rattner To Settle SEC Charges

Steven Rattner, who was appointed by president Obama last year to head the government's auto industry task force, reportedly has agreed to settle with the SEC over claims he organized kickbacks involving New York's state pension fund.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

Now for another story of big money. This one involves Steven Rattner. He worked to restructure the auto industry in the early days of the Obama administration. Rattner is also a prominent investment banker. And according to news reports, he will pay penalties of several million dollars to settle allegations of a pay-to-play scheme involving the New York State Pension Fund.

Rattner would also be barred temporarily from the securities industry. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

WENDY KAUFMAN: For years, investigators have been looking into kickbacks paid to officials with the New York State Pension Fund. Rattner was drawn into the probe in connection with his work as private equity fund Quadrangle. Three weeks after a Quadrangle-owned company agreed to distribute a low-budget movie co-produced by a former official of the pension fund, the fund invested $100 million with Quadrangle.

The official pleaded guilty several months ago and Quadrangle agreed to pay $12 million to settle with the SEC and with New York State. At the time, Rattner refused to settle. By settling with the SEC now, Rattner gets out from under that probe, but he's still under investigation by New York's attorney general.

Peter Lattman of the New York Times, who first reported on the SEC deal, told NPR that Rattner is now talking settlement with New York.

Mr. PETER LATTMAN (New York Times): The conversations with Attorney General Cuomo's office are still taking place and it's unclear how those are going to shake out.

KAUFMAN: Meanwhile, Rattner this week was out hobnobbing with some of the elite on Wall Street and in politics. He was promoting his new book about the restructuring of the auto industry.

Wendy Kaufman, NPR News.

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