Stock pumping scandal: Merrill Lynch pays $100m fine and pledges

In 2002 Merrill Lynch was forced to pay a $100 million fine because it had used stock analysts to pump up the prices for IT companies while the whole bubble was already bursting. When did this happen in 1999. Another banking scandal around the Bank were John Key was working at the time. He sure seems to have a taste for sleezy banks.

MERRILL LYNCH acknowledged yesterday that some of its stock analysts deliberately exaggerated the potential value of companies coming to the market during the peak of the hi-tech boom. It agreed to pay a $100m (pounds 69m) civil fine and to institute a series of internal reforms.

The brokerage house said it was settling charges that its analysts regularly issued overblown stock recommendations to help attract new business for its investment banking division. It may yet face several class-action lawsuits, however.

The affair, ignited by the New York State Attorney, Eliot Spitzer, has smudged the once shining reputation of Merrill Lynch, the largest firm on Wall Street, and further fuelled simmering anger among investors suspicious that they were duped into creating the hi-tech bubble before it burst.

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