BusinessWeek Wonders: Did Citi Use Maria To Mask Deeper Problems?

By Brian 

Headline updated at 3:27pm…

After Todd Thomson was fired from Citigroup, “people in the upper ranks of Citi’s management” started talking anonymously about his relationship with Maria Bartiromo, Business Week’s Mara Der Hovanesian says.

The story implies that Citi is “using a high-level ouster and tabloid-style rumors to obscure the disarray and dismal returns of Chuck Prince’s reign.”

Thomson, meanwhile, has “no comment on the smear campaign I’ve been reading in the media,” and Bartiromo still won’t talk publicly.

Update: 3:27pm: “But sources say she has privately told friends and colleagues that everything she has done was completely proper and CNBC business,” the story says…