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Report: Weill Pushed Grubman To Upgrade AT&T In 1999

Nov 13, 2002 |

Jack Grubman reportedly boasted that as an analyst with Citigroup in 1999, he was pushed by CEO Sandy Weill to upgrade shares of AT&T because of a power struggle at the top of the bank he was working for.

Grubman said in the January 2001 emails that Weill wanted the shares upgraded to curry favor with AT&T CEO C. Michael Armstrong, a key Citigroup board member whose support Weill was seeking in his efforts to oust former Citigroup Chairman John Reed, The Wall Street Journal reported. Reed subsequently left Citigroup in February 2001.

In one message, Grubman said he upgraded AT&T because Weill needed the support of Armstrong to "nuke" Reed, the Journal reported, citing people who have reviewed it. The emails were uncovered by the office of the New York attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, in his probe of analyst conflicts of interest on Wall Street. Spitzer's office reportedly has confirmed the authenticity of the emails but noted they might not accurately reflect the events of the upgrade.

In a statement, Citigroup called the electronic messages "pure fantasy" and said that the suggestion that Weill had pressed for the upgrade to win Armstrong's support is "nonsense."

"The regulators have already received unequivocal sworn testimony from Mr. Grubman that they are 'fabrications' with 'zero basis' in reality," Citigroup said. "We can't comment on why Mr. Grubman wrote them - you'll have to ask him."

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