In the settlement talks, which have dragged on since April, Citigroup has argued that it sold only a fraction of the mortgage-backed securities as other Wall Street banks, people briefed on the matter said. Yet, federal prosecutors are demanding penalties that far exceed the losses suffered by investors in the securities.

The government's proposed penalty of $10 billion dwarfs the $1 billion to $2 billion settlement that many Wall Street analysts have expected Citigroup to pay, people briefed on the matter said. The Wall Street estimate is based on the Justice Department's $13 billion settlement last year with JPMorgan Chase.


Similar tensions have derailed negotiations between the Justice Department and Bank of America this week, increasing the likelihood that federal prosecutors will file a lawsuit in that case as well.

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