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Wachovia Pays $102M for Bid-Rigging

NEWARK (CN) - Wachovia Bank, now known as Wells Fargo, will pay $148 million to settle charges that it rigged at least 58 municipal bond reinvestment transactions in 25 states and Puerto Rico, the SEC said today (Thursday).

Wachovia will pay $46 million to the SEC, to be returned to the municipalities or other borrowers, and another $102 million to settle complaints from the Justice Department, IRS, Comptroller of the Currency and 26 states.

Wachovia won some bids through "last looks," in which it got information from the bidding agents about competing bids, the SEC said in a statement announcing the settlements.

It won other bids through "set-ups" in which the bidding agent deliberately got nonwinning bids from other providers to rig the field for Wachovia's favor. And Wachovia facilitated some bids rigged for others to win by deliberately submitting nonwinning bids, the SEC said.

Wachovia was merged into Wells Fargo in March 2010. The wrongdoing was before that, although Wachovia did not have to admit that it was wrong.

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