Obama 'Car Czar' to Pay $10 Million to Settle Kickback Charges

Steven Rattner has reached an agreement with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to settle allegations that the former "car czar" paid a state official to steer state pension-fund business to Rattner's Manhattan-based private-equity firm several years ago.

The settlement, announced Thursday by state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, requires Rattner to pay $10 million in restitution to the State of New York and bars Rattner from appearing in any capacity before any public pension fund in the state for five years, The New York Times reported online.

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The Times noted the agreement settles two lawsuits filed by Cuomo in November against Rattner, the former Obama official who oversaw the federal rescue of General Motors (GM) and Chrysler.

"I am gratified that we have been able to reach an agreement in this case, as it resolves the last major action of our multi-year investigation," Cuomo said in a statement. "The state pension fund is a valuable asset held in trust for retirees and supported by taxpayers. Through the many cases, pleas and settlements in this investigation, I believe we have been able to help restore and protect the integrity of the state pension fund."

Cuomo is the state's governor-elect, and will be sworn in Saturday, New Year's Day.

In a statement issued in conjunction with Thursday's agreement, Rattner said:
"I am pleased to have reached a settlement with the New York Attorney General's Office, which allows me to put this matter behind me. I apologize if during the course of this process there is anything I did that may have made reaching this agreement more difficult. I respect the work of the Attorney General and his staff to ensure that the New York State Common Retirement Fund operates properly and in the best interests of New Yorkers."
Rattner left his firm in 2009 to lead the White House task force on the auto industry. Cuomo had sought as much as $26 million to settle the allegations. Rattner previously agreed to pay $6.2 million to settle federal charges over the "pay-to-play" scandal. He also accepted a two-year ban from certain Wall Street businesses, the Times reported, but he didn't admit or deny wrongdoing.
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