Why Merrill Lynch Got Burned

The bank's leadership role in underwriting risky CDOs brought in millions in fees but put it in the subprime bull's-eye

The blast of criticism directed at Citigroup (C) Chief Executive Officer Charles O. Prince III, whose stewardship of the nation's biggest bank has drawn barbs, has been withering in recent weeks. Yet Prince may have caught a huge break, courtesy of Merrill Lynch CEO E. Stanley O'Neal. On Oct. 24, O'Neal's firm officially became Wall Street's biggest loser in the subprime game.

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