This is not the environment in which to mess with Cuomo. Particularly if you are John Thain. Seriously. Says Dealbook:
Merrill Lynch's former chief executive, John A. Thain, was questioned by the New York State Attorney General Office last week. In a six-hour session [complete with stress positions, extended standing, cultural humiliation (for example, exposure to retail banking executives, state employees), exploitation of phobias (for example, the use of dogs, poor people, coach class seating)]* Mr. Thain answered wide-ranging questions about the bonuses he paid Merrill employees and about his interactions with officials at Bank of America, which acquired Merrill at the end of the year.
Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo was not satisfied by Mr. Thain's answers, and he filed a motion on Monday asking that Mr. Thain return and provide more details about the bonuses .
What did the Thain dish? Take a look after the jump.
* Dramatization. May not have actually happened.
Mr. Lawsky: Did Andrea Smith focus in on any particular people, do you recall, whose numbers she thought were too big?
The Witness: She did--
Mr. Lawsky: Or too small?
The Witness: I don't recall any of them being too small. Yes. She did have some individuals who she thought were high, who we changed and brought down.
Mr. Lawsky: Who do you remember of those people?
Mr. Levander: I've been directed not to disclose by the company individual names other than the names of the top people who are under Section 16. We were directed by Bank of America counsel, if you want to get on the phone with Mr. Liman [?]--
Mr. Lawsky: If you don't want to tell us the names, you can just say "I don't want to tell you the names."
Mr. Levander: He has no problem telling the names. We were directed by counsel for Bank of America and I'm following that direction.
Mr. Lawsky: I'm asking. Do you want to give us the names?
Mr. Levander: He's given you the category --
Mr. Lawsky: I'm not asking you for the numbers that people got. I'm asking who Andrea Smith asked numbers to come down for. Are you telling me Bank of America doesn't want you to disclose that?
Mr. Levander: That's my understanding, but I'll tell you what. At the next break I'll try to find out if that's what the direction was.
Mr. Lawsky: Let the record reflect that the witness is refusing to answer.
Mr. Levander: At the direction of counsel -- at the direction of Bank of America's counsel.
A Look at Cuomo's Questions for Thain [Dealbook]