Citigroup bows to pressure, cancels 7X order

By John Croft

Global financial services company Citigroup today cancelled an order for a Dassault Falcon 7X business jet to be delivered later this year as pressure mounted from the US Congress and even the White House.

The action is an about-face from the company's staunch defence of its order on Monday, telling news outlets that the purchase of the $40 million long-range business jet would proceed. Citigroup last year secured $45 billion in aid from the US government to continue operating amid the financial meltdown.

Key critics of the deal included Michigan Senator Carl Levin, whose home-state automobile manufacturers shed their corporate jets and flight departments in exchange for government financial aid late last year. Levin had threatened to have the US government block the 7X purchase.

The Obama administration reportedly said buying the jet was not "the best use of money."

Levin issued harsh words to the bank even after the deal was cancelled today. "I'm glad they have changed their minds," he said in a statement issued today. "It is unconscionable and unacceptable for a corporation to purchase a fancy new custom jet to fly their executives while the public is pouring billions of dollars of taxpayer money into the company, trying to keep it afloat."

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