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Bernanke and Paulson to be called to testify by Congress

City A.M. Reporter
FEDERAL Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and former Treasury secretary Henry Paulson will be asked to testify before the US Congress on their role in Bank of America&rsquo;s (BoA) acquisition of Merrill Lynch.<br /><br />At a congressional hearing into the US government&rsquo;s role in last year&rsquo;s purchase, the Democratic chairman of a key House panel said Bernanke and Paulson must address allegations they improperly pressured BoA to complete the deal.<br /><br />&ldquo;We will be looking for some answers to puzzling questions,&rdquo; said Edolphus Towns, Democratic chairman the US House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.<br /><br />&ldquo;Did Paulson and Bernanke abuse their authority by ordering Lewis to go through with the Merrill acquisition, or did Lewis threaten to back out in order to squeeze more money out of the federal government,&rdquo; Towns asked.<br /><br />BoA chief executive Ken Lewis, the sole witness at the hearing, agreed with lawmakers under questioning that there was pressure from the government to complete the deal despite growing losses at Merrill.<br /><br />&ldquo;But it was in the context of them thinking it was in the best interests of Bank of America and the financial system, even though we were in good health,&rdquo; Lewis said.