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B of A To Pay $33 Million Fine

Bank of America has agreed to pay a $33 million penalty to settle government charges that it misled investors about Merrill Lynch’s plans to pay bonuses to its employees.

In seeking approval to buy Merrill, Bank of America told its shareholders that Merrill agreed not to pay year-end bonuses without Bank of America’s consent. But the Securities and Exchange Commission says Bank of America had authorized New York-based Merrill to pay $5.8 billion in bonuses.

The bonuses amount to nearly 12 percent of the $50 billion Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America paid for Merrill.

The SEC says Bank of America agreed to pay $33 million to settle the charges without admitting or denying the allegations.