Lew Defends Pay at Citigroup During U.S. Financial Crisis

U.S. Treasury secretary nominee Jack Lew said he was paid “in a manner consistent” with other Wall Street executives when he worked at bailed-out Citigroup Inc. during the financial crisis.

Lew, asked today at his Senate confirmation hearing about being paid a $940,000 bonus in early 2009, said he “will leave it for others to judge” whether his compensation was appropriate.

Lew, 57, said he wasn’t “in the business of making investment decisions” while at the bank from 2006 to 2009. “I learned a great deal about the financial products, but I wasn’t designing them, I wasn’t opining on them,” he told the Senate Finance Committee. “I take away from that experience a deep understanding that there are risks that we need to be very much on guard against.”

Lew, President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff and budget director, also said he wasn’t involved in setting up a Citigroup fund in the Cayman Islands in which he had an investment he later sold at a loss.

Lew said he knew it was an international fund investing in emerging markets and much of the fund’s personnel were based in London. “I actually didn’t know at the time what the address of the partnership was,” he said.

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