Marsh & McLennan Cos., which agreed to pay $850 million to settle charges of bid-rigging brought against it by New York regulators, may fork over a lot less than that amount, thanks to a tax deduction that could shave hundreds of millions of dollars from the headline figure, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Last October, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sued the financial services giant's insurance brokerage unit for steering business toward insurers that paid it lucrative contingent commissions. The agreement between Spitzer's office and Marsh, the largest the Attorney General's office has struck with a single company, was reached on Jan. 31, after an intense negotiation period.

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