The battle for

Morgan Stanley

(MWD)

took another twist with news that two recently departed investment bankers are prohibited from conspiring against the company under terms of their separation agreements.

Under their $6.4 million bonuses for 2005, Joseph Perella and Terry Meguid are barred from disparaging the storied investment firm or joining with a group of dissident shareholders trying to oust CEO Phil Purcell. Perella, formerly vice chairman, and Meguid, the head of investment banking, resigned April 13.

According to an 8K filed with the

SEC

, the two former executives agree to refrain from making any "public statements, written or oral, which criticize, disparage, or defame the goodwill or reputation of, or which embarrass or adversely affect the morale of" Morgan Stanley and its employees.

Perella and Meguid were mentioned as possible executives in a management blueprint compiled by the so-called "group of eight" Morgan Stanley shareholders trying to depose Purcell. The executives have denied they had agreed to the positions, and the dissidents later conceded they had not specifically asked them to join their campaign.

An element of mystery has surrounded the executives' departure. Perella left just one month after being elevated to vice chairman following the appointment of Zoe Cruz and Stephen Crawford to the position of co-presidents. The latter two promotions are generally seen as inciting the dissident effort.