Steven Rattner, the leader of the Obama administration's auto task force, was one of the investment firm executives involved with payments now under scrutiny in a state and federal investigation into an alleged kickback scheme at New York state's pension fund, a source familiar with the situation said on Friday.
A senior executive of Rattner's firm, Quadrangle Group, identified in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission complaint against two former New York political officials and others, is Rattner himself, the source said.
Rattner himself is not mentioned in the complaint, and neither Rattner nor Quadrangle has been accused of any wrongdoing.
His identity was earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
The senior executive met with a consultant, and then the firm agreed to pay what became a $1.1 million fee after receiving an investment from the state pension fund, the complaint said.
A representative for Quadrangle declined to comment.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Treasury, which oversees the auto task force headed by Rattner, also declined to comment. But when asked whether the Obama administration knew of Rattner's role in the investigation, the spokesperson said: During the transition, Mr. Rattner made us aware of the pending investigation.
The auto task force headed by Rattner operates under the Treasury.
Sources familiar with the investigation told Reuters earlier this week that several investment firms are being scrutinized over whether they made improper payments to intermediaries to gain business from New York state's pension fund.
The inquiry by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and the SEC includes the Carlyle Group
Last month, Henry Morris, the former New York state comptroller's top fundraiser, and David Loglisci, the state's pension investment chief, were charged with taking millions of dollars in kickbacks from money manager firms.
The main legal issue for the investment firms turns on whether they knew, or should have known, that fees they paid to certain entities for access to the New York fund were legitimate or were improper kickbacks, and whether they were properly disclosed, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.
Rattner, who co-founded Quadrangle in 2000, left the firm earlier this year to lead the government's effort to restructure struggling U.S. car makers General Motors Corp
(Reporting by Megan Davies and Anupreeta Das; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)