* Disappointed in partners comments’ on Quadrangle
* Says without TARP, economy would be “dust”
NEW YORK, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Embattled financier Steven Rattner told Reuters Insider television on Friday he was disappointed in the way the firm he co-founded publicly referred to him when it settled a long-running pay-to-play corruption probe.
Rattner, who is promoting his book “Overhaul,” left private equity firm Quadrangle in 2009 to run U.S. President Barack Obama’s auto bailout task force. He departed from that post a few months later to return to private life.
Only weeks after taking the autos post, Rattner and Quadrangle were linked to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s probe into a state pension pay-to-play scheme.
Quadrangle in April settled its part of the probe and said in a statement released at the time that, “we wholly disavow the conduct engaged in by Steve Rattner”.
“I was disappointed,” Rattner told Reuters Insider, when asked about the language used by Quadrangle. “I enjoyed working with my partners. I understand that they were trying to do what they thought was in the interest of the firm. But partners are partners and I would like to think that I would treat my partners differently.”
Rattner remains under regulatory scrutiny, but declined to extrapolate on the process.
“Unfortunately, it’s in process,” he said. “And so my lawyers have given me full instructions not to talk about it.”
<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ For an in-depth Reuters interview of Rattner published on Tuesday [nN20109089]. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>
Rattner led the Treasury Department task force in 2009 that led the restructuring of GM and Chrysler with the help of more than $60 billion in bailout and bankruptcy financing.
He said the government rescues -- via the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) used to prop up Wall Street firms during the 2008-2009 financial crisis -- were critical.
“I believe that TARP ... was probably the most important piece of legislation passed maybe in 20 years ... Without TARP, without these rescues, our economy would just be dust at the moment, it would be a big black hole,” he said.
Announcing the Chrysler bankruptcy in the spring of 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama criticized “speculators” among hedge funds and investment firms who held out in hopes of government bailout funds.
Asked about Obama’s language at the time, Rattner said: “If I could rewrite history, I probably would change the language a little bit. Personally, I will take the responsibility -- it wasn’t my language, but I would take the responsibility. I didn’t fully appreciate the extent to which people would view that as an attack on Wall Street.” (Quotes taken from a Reuters Insider interview by Chrystia Freeland for Reuters Insider in New York; transcribing and writing by Megan Davies and Jennifer Ablan; editing by Andre Grenon).
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