By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com
Published: Friday, Nov. 19, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 6B

A financier who has invested tens of millions of dollars for CalPERS was sued Thursday in a probe of corruption at New York state’s public pension fund.

Steven Rattner, accused of bribing officials in New York, briefly served as President Obama’s “car czar,” overseeing the bailout of General Motors. He was sued the same day GM’s stock went public again – a move seen by many as a vindication of the bailout.

In California, Rattner invested $125 million for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System through the firm he founded, Quadrangle Group. There have been no allegations of any wrongdoing in his relationship with CalPERS.

But Rattner’s legal woes have parallels to a bribery scandal that’s bedeviled CalPERS.

In separate lawsuits Thursday, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Rattner of paying kickbacks to win investments from the New York pension fund. Rattner agreed to pay $6.2 million to settle the SEC case but said he will fight Cuomo’s suit, which he called “politically motivated.”

Rattner’s ties to CalPERS consist of two investments made since 2000 with the Quadrangle firm. The first has earned CalPERS a 10.3 percent return, the second 7.2 percent.

CalPERS spokesman Clark McKinley said the fund had no comment. Rattner has left Quadrangle, which settled with Cuomo and the SEC in April.

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