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SEC Nears Fund Accords With Bank Of America, FleetBoston

Mar 15, 2004 | Wall Street Journal

The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to announce as early as Monday that it has reached a preliminary settlement agreement with Bank of America Corp. and FleetBoston Financial Corp. related to their roles in the burgeoning mutual-fund scandal, according to people familiar with the matter.

As part of the settlement, Bank of America will agree to pay $375 million in both fines and disgorgement to investors and FleetBoston will pay $140 million in fines and disgorgement, these people said. The financial institutions will also agree to certain reforms as part of the agreement, these people said. It isn't clear whether the firms will admit to any wrongdoing, though most settlement agreements include standard language of not admitting or denying guilt.

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is also expected to announce a separate settlement agreement with the banks, according to people familiar with the situation. In the past, Mr. Spitzer's settlements have included an agreement related to cutting mutual-fund fees.

Bank of America officials weren't immediately available for comment. The bank has said since the start of the probe last fall that was it was cooperating with investigators. FleetBoston officials couldn't immediately be reached. An SEC spokesman declined to comment.

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