Is Bank of America Wikileaks next target?

WikiLeaks is an international non-profit media organization that publishes submissions of otherwise unavailable documents from anonymous sources and leaks. The organization has described itself as having been founded by Chinese dissidents, as well as journalists, mathematicians, and start-up company technologists from the U.S., Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and South Africa.

The site has received criticism from all sides, including Amnesty International, Reporters without Borders, and even a former member of their own board of directors.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange asserted in an October 2009 Computerworld magazine interview that he had the 5GB hard drive of a Bank of America executive. Assange told Forbes magazine that a release of “tens or hundreds of thousands of documents” would reveal “flagrant violations” and “unethical practices” at a major US bank, though he did not mention Bank of America specifically. Of course, it didn’t take long to connect the two interviews.

In response, the bank’s shares closed at $10.95, down 36 cents, last Monday.

Does Bank of America have something to hide? Well, maybe. The acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co. was the subject of several state and federal probes. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has a civil fraud case pending against the bank. The suit alleges they misled investors about losses at Merrill before the acquisition closed.

The Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that the bank told investors that Merrill wouldn’t pay bonuses before the deal closed even though the bank had already authorized as much as $5.8 billion in bonuses. The SEC and the bank settled for $150 million.

Wikileaks is keeping itself sealed (ironically?) and refuses to comment on the hard drive.

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Posted on December 6, 2010, in Newspaper & Journal Articles and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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