Ex-Obama ‘car czar’ to pay $10 million in graft probe

By Agence France-Presse— An investor once tapped as US President Barack Obama's "car czar" has agreed to pay $10 million to New York state after being accused of graft, officials said Thursday.

US watchdogs accused Steven Rattner of participating in a widespread kickback scheme to get investments from the New York State Common Retirement Fund, the city's biggest pension fund.

"Mr. Rattner will pay $10 million in restitution to the State of New York and be banned from appearing in any capacity before any public pension fund within the State of New York for five years," a statement from New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo said.

Rattner had earlier agreed to settle similar charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission, by paying $6.2 million, without admitting or denying guilt.

On Thursday he expressed hope that a line had been drawn under the issue.

"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."

In February 2009 the Treasury Department tapped Rattner to act as a special advisor on the restructuring of the US auto industry.

He resigned just months later amid a cloud of controversy over his past dealings.

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