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Opening Bell: 03.05.09

Cuomo Issues Subpoenas For ML Bankers (WSJ)
Attorney General Cuomo, who has yet to pull his head from his rectum, has issued subpoenas to "several top Merrill Lynch & Co. executives who were each paid more than $10 million in cash and stock last year."
Aside from the standard arguments of creating disincentives for entry into banking, we have to consider what long term affect will it have on a structure that values predictability and independence. Moreover, we have to consider where this could potentially lead; given the amount of money the American financial system is responsible for internationally, how far should government intervention into the markets be tolerated?
Barclays Questioned Over Use Of Lehman Funds (FT)
"Mr Marsal's letter - sent to Rich Ricci, BarCap's chief operating officer, and Jonathan Hughes, its general counsel - says that, under the takeover deal, Barclays received $2bn from Lehman to pay bonuses and severance to transferring employees, according to people who have seen the document. However, Alvarez & Marsal estimates Barclays had to pay only about $700m in bonuses and severance, these people say.
The liquidators' analysis of Lehman's internal documents concluded that the total amount of compensation set aside for the investment bank's global workforce until the end of August was $1.3bn. But because Barclays bought only Lehman's North American operations, whose 10,000-plus employees accounted for 55 per cent of the compensation pool, its expenses should have been about $700m.
The agreement between Barclays and Lehman also provided for the transfer of cash and collateral, including $2.25bn to pay for liabilities to be settled after the takeover, according to people who have seen the letter. However, in the document Alvarez & Marsal calculates that Barclays' payments for these liabilities have been about $200m, and the estimate for the final amount is much lower than expected, these people said."
GM's Auditors Question Ability To Survive (WSJ)
There's a certain humor to the fact that either Auditors are just now questioning their viability, or it's just now making it to the journal.
InBev Reports 95% Fall In Profits Over 3 Months (BBC)
"Its attributable profits in the last quarter of 2008 fell to 49m euros ($62m; £43m) from 900m euros in 2007.
It blamed costs linked to InBev's $52bn takeover of Anheuser - completed in November - mainly redundancy payments.
The brewer of Budweiser, Becks and Stella Artois is in the process of cutting 2,400 jobs."
BOE Considers Rate Cut To Zero (Bloomberg)
"The Bank of England may cut its benchmark interest rate almost to zero today as Governor Mervyn King faces pressure to spell out plans to revamp monetary policy and print money.
The central bank's nine-member panel will probably cut the bank rate by a half point to 0.5 percent, the median of 60 economists' forecasts in a Bloomberg survey shows. The Treasury may also give King and his colleagues authority to create money and pump it into the economy by buying assets."
Chavez Seizes Cargill Plant (Reuters)
It's good that Chavez is a student of history, things like this often work out well.
Merrill Execs Taken In Madoff Scam (Reuters)
"Former chief executives Daniel Tully and David Komansky and former investment-banking chief Barry Friedberg personally invested in the funds, set up by former Merrill brokerage chief John Steffens, the paper said, citing people familiar with the matter."

Quest CEO To Visit Prison (Reuters)
For those of you that were still dealing with acne some 7/8 years ago, during the IT melt down anything that could be plugged in was getting its balls stomped on my the markets. Around that time Nacchio decided it was in his best interest to sell $52MM worth of company stock illegally, which compelled the authorities to indict him for 19 counts of insider trading.
"Nacchio will serve the six-year prison term at the minimum-security satellite prison camp at Schuylkill federal prison at Minersville, Pennsylvania, according to an order by U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger."