AIG executives agree to return bonuses amid state pressures

Chris Rizo Mar. 24, 2009, 11:34am

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)-Amid mounting pressure from a bipartisan legion of state attorneys general, executives at insurance giant AIG have agreed to return $50 million in bonus payments they received earlier this month, officials said.

As of late Monday, 15 of the top 20 bonus recipients agreed to return those payments to American International Group, which has received billions of dollars in federal bailout funds to help keep the New York-based company solvent.

"I would like to say this to the individuals who have given the money back - You have done the right thing," New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said. "You have done what this country now needs and demands. We are living in a new era of corporate and individual responsibility. I thank you for setting an example for the rest of the company."

In addition to the New York attorney general, state legal officers including Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, a Republican, and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, called on AIG's top brass to return their so-called retention bonuses.

In all, 20 state attorneys general announced investigations Friday into the bonuses paid by AIG to its senior executives, including CEO Edward Liddy. The officials are demanding the names of bonus recipients and documents concerning the bonuses.

"We've demanded the information needed to confirm that the billions loaned to AIG are being used as intended - to stabilize the company and help unwind the mortgage-backed securities that damaged our economy," said Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican.

On Monday, Cuomo said investigators from his office are "working our way down the list," in hopes of recouping much of the some-$80 million in bonuses paid to the company's U.S. employees. The remaining $85 million in bonuses paid earlier this month went primarily to foreign AIG employees.

The Democratic attorney general said he did not intend to release the names of people who agreed to return their bonus payments.

"My intention today is if a person returns the money, I don't believe there's a public interest in releasing the names," Cuomo said.
"People who do return the money, they would no longer be on our list."

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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