NEW YORK (AP) — Former White House auto industry adviser Steven Rattner said he was being persecuted by Andrew Cuomo, New York’s attorney general and governor-elect.

In a taped interview with Charlie Rose broadcast Monday night, Rattner said Cuomo’s decision to sue him last week for $26 million was “close to extortion.”

Rattner’s talk with Rose was his most vigorous defense yet against allegations that he paid kickbacks to help his former private equity firm land a $150 million investment contract with New York’s giant government pension fund.

The Securities and Exchange Commission and Cuomo have said in civil filings that Rattner successfully curried favor with corrupt state officials by paying $1 million in “sham” fees to the state comptroller’s top political consultant.

(Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Watch & Listen LIVE