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The Merrill bonuses were 22 times larger than those paid by AIG ($3,620 million versus $165 million). They were also very large relative to the TARP monies allocated to Merrill. The Merrill bonuses were the equivalent of 36.2% of TARP monies Treasury allocated to Merrill and awarded to BOA after their merger. The bonuses, awarded mostly as cash, were made only to top management at Merrill. To be eligible for the bonuses, Merrill employees had to have a salary of at least $300,000 and attained the title of Vice President or higher.
While prior to the merger BOA knew of Merrill's intent to award billions of dollars in performance bonuses before the Fourth Quarter earnings were calculated, BOA did not disclose the details it possessed about the Merrill bonuses and the unusualness of the timing of those bonuses to its shareholders prior to their vote on the merger.
This raises important questions about what you knew about the Merrill bonuses, and what you did with your knowledge. If ordinary BOA shareholders were ignorant of the details of the Merrill bonus arrangement, was the U.S. government as well.