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Panel asks Mozilo to testify

January 15, 2008|From Times Wire Services

WASHINGTON — Current and former chief executives of three major U.S. financial institutions hit by sub-prime mortgage fallout were asked Monday by a congressional committee to testify at a hearing next month on their pay and severance packages.

A House panel invited Countrywide Financial Corp. CEO Angelo Mozilo, former Citigroup Inc. chief Charles Prince and Stanley O'Neal, former head of Merrill Lynch & Co., to appear Feb. 7.

Mozilo, one of the country's highest-paid CEOs, stands to reap $115 million in severance-related pay after Calabasas-based Countrywide, the nation's largest mortgage lender, is acquired by Bank of America Corp., regulatory filings show.

In a letter, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, asked Mozilo to be prepared to explain how his compensation aligned with shareholders' interests and whether it was "justified in light of your company's recent performance and its role in the national mortgage crisis."

Prince quit Citigroup in the wake of billions in mortgage-related losses and O'Neal was ousted from Merrill under similar circumstances. Both stood to collect millions after leaving.

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