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UPDATE 1-Major Dutch fund ABP sues BofA over Merrill

* ABP’s manager says BofA withheld Merrill Lynch information

* Asset manager APG says BofA knew of Merrill loss, bonuses

* ABP seeks compensation for damages, APG says

* Suing BofA in a U.S. court

* BofA not immediately available for comment

(Adds background)

AMSTERDAM, March 17 (Reuters) - Dutch pension fund ABP, the world's third largest, has sued Bank of America BAC.N, saying it withheld vital information in 2008 about its Merrill Lynch takeover that would have led ABP to reject the deal.

“Prior to the merger date, BofA appear to have had knowledge of record quarterly losses Merrill was facing. The losses were expected to exceed $15 billion,” ABP’s assets manager APG said in a statement on Wednesday.

BofA was not immediately available to comment.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Bank of America Corp for a second time in January over its takeover of Merrill Lynch & Co, accusing the bank of failing to disclose huge losses at Merrill before shareholders voted on the merger. [ID:nN12201470]

APG said BofA also kept information from shareholders about $5.8 billion in bonuses to be paid to Merrill Lynch employees prior to the closing of the merger with BofA.

APG’s client would not have voted in favour of the merger if it had know about these issues, APG said, adding its client was seeking up to $91 million in damages.

With 180.5 billion euros under management at the end of June 2009, ABP is the world’s third-biggest state pension fund after Japan’s and Norway’s. (Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger, editing by Will Waterman)

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