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SEC looking to appeal blocked Citigroup settlement: report

(Reuters) - Enforcement staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission may request the commissioners leading the agency that they appeal last month's rejection by a U.S. district judge of a proposed $285 million settlement with Citigroup, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

In November, Judge Jed Rakoff angrily threw out Citigroup's proposed settlement over the sale of toxic mortgage debt, excoriating the SEC over how it reaches corporate fraud settlements.

Talks aimed at hammering out several other agreements between the agency and financial firms it has accused of misconduct before or during the financial crisis have stalled, people told the Journal.

"Everything's come to a halt because the SEC doesn't know what to ask for anymore in the settlements," one of the people told the newspaper.

If SEC commissioners approve, the agency could appeal the November 28 ruling to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, people familiar with the situation told the newspaper.

An SEC spokesman declined to comment to the Journal on the agency's plans. Officials at the SEC could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside regular U.S. business hours.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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