Cuomo, Obama tag team AIG

John O'Brien Mar. 16, 2009, 5:23pm


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - Three days after a hearing regarding executive bonuses given out by Merrill Lynch, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has turned some of his attention toward American International Group.

Monday, Cuomo sent a letter to AIG CEO Edward Liddy warning Liddy that a subpoena would be sent his way if he did not disclose the names of individuals set to receive millions of dollars in retention bonuses out of the company's Financial Products Retention Plan.

Cuomo gave AIG, which received $173 billion in taxpayer funds as part of the recent federal bailout of several financial services providers, until 4 p.m. to comply. A report by The Associated Press says AIG missed the deadline.

President Obama criticized AIG's plan Sunday and said he would attempt to block the bonuses from being given out. In November, AIG told Cuomo it would cut pay to its executives.

"We need this information immediately in order to investigate and determine: (l) whether any of the individuals receiving such payments were involved in the conduct that led to AIG's demise and subsequent bailout; (2) whether, as you claim, such individuals are truly required to unwind AIG Financial Product's positions; (3) whether such contracts may be unenforceable for fraud or other reasons; and (4) whether any of the retention payments may be considered fraudulent conveyances under New York law," Cuomo wrote.

Cuomo said taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent.

Friday, New York County Supreme Court Judge Bernard Fried said he would try to decide if Bank of America must disclosure the names of former Merrill Lynch executives who received billions of dollars in bonuses before Bank of America's purchase of Merrill Lynch became final.

Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis said he would give Cuomo the names of 696 Merrill Lynch employees who were given bonuses before Bank of America completed its purchase of Merrill Lynch if they were kept confidential. The bonuses totaled $3.6 billion.

Friday's hearing can be heard here.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at

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