New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo told CNBC that he would let a state ethics panel review his connections with a prominent Bear Stearnsboard member if his office decides to launch a formal investigation into the firm's involvement in the subprime meltdown.
Cuomo said that prominent Bear Stearns board member Vincent Tese contributed to his successful bid for attorney general in 2006, and if "something comes of what we are doing, if there's an investigation, we will have the ethics panel review" Cuomo's involvement in the matter.
Cuomo's office recently subpoenaed several large Wall Street firms--including Bear, Merrill Lynch, and Deutsche Bank--over how they packaged bonds backed by risky mortgages such as subprime loans. Meanwhile, Tese, as head of the audit committee of the Bear Stearns board, is leading the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the implosion of two of the firm's subprime hedge funds last summer. A Bear Stearns spokesman had no comment.