* Bank expressed concern execs might be harassed
* Competitive concerns also cited
March 19 (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury Department blanked out the names of Citigroup Inc (C.N) executives who negotiated bailout terms in late 2008 after the bank expressed concern that they might be harassed, Bloomberg said.
The names were blacked out from the documents and emails released to Bloomberg News in response to an August Freedom of Information Act request tied to the company’s bailout by the U.S. government, the news agency said.
Many of the documents detail “back-and-forth” negotiations between Citigroup executives and government officials over executive-pay limits, the story quotes Citigroup personnel head Paul McKinnon as saying in a June affidavit filed in response to a similar Freedom of Information Act request by News Corp’s (NWSA.O) Fox Business Network.
“If this information were to find its way into the hands of Citigroup’s competitors, which I presume would occur if these documents were disclosed to a FOIA requester, those competitors would gain valuable insights into Citigroup’s strategies,” Bloomberg quoted McKinnon as saying.
Treasury blanked out the names after Citigroup said they might be harassed like the American International Group Inc (AIG.N) workers who came under fire for taking big bonuses, Bloomberg said.
The government stepped in to prop up Citigroup at the height of the financial crisis in October 2008, when officials at the U.S. Treasury feared the bank’s crumbling financial condition could destabilize financial markets worldwide.
Some contents of the emails were also blacked out, stating that they were internal deliberations exempt from disclosure, the agency said.
Citigroup declined to comment on the report. The Treasury did not immediately respond to requests for comment. (Reporting by Amulya Nagaraj in Bangalore; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)