Joseph Ax, Reuters

Wells Fargo & Co said Monday that a U.S. government request to add one of its executives as a defendant in a fraud case may be in retaliation for the bank’s decision to cut off settlement talks.

In a motion filed in New York federal court opposing the Justice Department’s request to add executive Kurt Lofrano as a defendant, Wells Fargo said it told the government it would no longer engage in settlement negotiations on October 29 after months of discussions.

Three days later, the government for the first time said it would seek to add an unnamed executive, later revealed to be Lofrano, to its year-old lawsuit accusing the bank of fraud during the lead-up to the financial meltdown.

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