S&P lawyer says agency's ratings identical to others: CNBC

NEW YORK Tue Feb 5, 2013 7:17pm EST

A view shows the Standard & Poor's building in New York's financial district February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

A view shows the Standard & Poor's building in New York's financial district February 5, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Floyd Abrams, the lawyer defending rating agency Standard & Poor's against a lawsuit from the U.S. government, said on Tuesday that the company's ratings were "identical" to those of other rating agencies.

"The predictions about the future were identical to other rating agencies," Abrams told CNBC regarding the agency's ratings on U.S. collateralized debt obligations, which are the focus of the Justice Department's lawsuit against the agency and its parent, The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.

Abrams said he did not know if the lawsuit was political payback for the rating agency's downgrade of the U.S. credit rating in August 2011, but that scrutiny intensified after the downgrade.

"I don't think anyone knows," Abrams said, but added that the "intensity of this investigation significantly increased" after the credit downgrade.

(Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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