If Michael Milken were a corporation, his 1987 salary would have made him the 65th largest U.S. company, just ahead of McDonald's Corp., and rich enough to buy every American a Big Mac.
According to government documents, the junk bond king was paid $550 million before taxes in 1987 - outdoing McDonald's earnings that year of $549 million. In fact, he amassed more than $1 billion between 1984 and 1987.Milken, who headed Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc.'s high-yield bond department until taking a leave of absence last week, has been charged in a 98-count indictment with racketeering, mail and securities fraud. He was indicted along with his brother Lowell, a lawyer who is now also on leave from Drexel, and Bruce Newberg, a former Drexel employee.
The three men maintain they are innocent.
Milken agreed Friday to set aside more than $600 million of his assets to guarantee payment if he is convicted of fraud and racketeering in the government's largest-ever securities trial.
The former Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. financier also was ordered to post $1 million bond and surrender his passport until an expected trial later this year culminating Wall Street's insider trading scandals.
If the three defendants are convicted on the racketeering charges alone, the Government can seek more than $11 billion in forfeitures and fines.