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Merrill Lynch & Co., under scrutiny from an array of regulatory authorities, has fired two top executives for refusing to testify in investigations of the brokerage firm’s dealings with Enron Corp. Schuyler Tilney and Tom Davis were dismissed late Wednesday over their refusal to cooperate with inquiries being conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Tilney was already on administrative leave from Merrill for declining to testify about his Enron dealings to a Senate subcommittee. Merrill said it regretted the dismissals, but that they were necessary because the firm has a policy of cooperating with regulatory investigations. Merrill added that it is “not aware of any evidence that its employees acted improperly in their dealings with Enron.” The announcement came after the 4 p.m. close of regular trading Wednesday. It was not clear at press time whether Tilney and Davis are still subject to actions by the DOJ or the SEC. The firings are unsurprising and hardly a severe blow to Merrill’s ranks, since both executives were already on their way out — or perceived to be. Davis, a well-regarded vice chairman, had announced in May that he would leave Merrill in November. Davis oversaw Merrill’s embattled research department, and his star had risen high at the firm before Enron entered the picture. Davis was once in the running to be Merrill’s president, a post that instead went to E. Stanley O’Neal last year. Tilney had been Merrill’s head of energy investment banking before being put on administrative leave in late July. Married to a former top Enron executive, he was put on leave for refusing to testify before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which is a part of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. Both Davis and Tilney were among 96 Merrill employees who invested a total of $19.6 million of their own money into Enron’s controversial off-balance-sheet partnership called LJM2. �Copyright 2002, The Deal, LLC. All rights reserved.

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