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Citibank comes under fire from Obama

Lalit K Jha in Washington | January 30, 2009 16:34 IST

Vikram Pandit-led Citigroup has came under fire from the US President Barack Obama and his administration for purchasing a $50 million jet plane.

While the Citigroup has cancelled the order at the direction of the Treasury Department, Obama lashed out at the banking giant speaking to reporters at White House on Thursday.

"You know, (Treasury) Secretary (Timothy) Geithner already had to pull back one institution (Citigroup) that had gone forward with a multi-million-dollar jet plane purchase at the same time as they're receiving TARP (troubled assets relief program) money," Obama said.

Citigroup had recently received $45 billion from the federal government to bail it out from the deep financial crisis and save it from eminent collapse. The company also reported the fourth quarter loss of $8.29 billion.

After the news appeared in US newspapers early this week, resulting in widespread criticism including the government and the lawmakers, the bank said the order for the jet plane, placed in 2005, has been withdrawn.

"We shouldn't have to do that, because they should know better. We will continue to send that message loud and clear," Obama asserted indicating that such a wasteful expenditure would not be tolerated by his administration any more.

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