New findings suggest AIG executive bonuses were larger than previously thought

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

The AIG building lobby at 70 Pine Street in New York City

A senior United States official has stated that the US insurance firm American International Group (AIG) has paid out US$218 million in bonuses to its executives, after receiving over $180 billion in federal aid from the government. The number is higher than the earlier figure of $165 million that was reported previously.

According to documents obtained by a subpoena by Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut attorney general, the bonus payouts were 32%, or $53 million, higher than the original number that was reported for most of the week. The documents also say that 73 people received bonuses of at least $1 million, and five were given over $4 million.

Blumenthal stated that the updated amounts "further fuel the justified anger and revulsion that people feel", and intends to ask executives at AIG about the discrepancies in the numbers. He also stated that "unless the number can be explained, it will undercut any lingering rationale the company may have for these unjustified payments."

A spokesperson for AIG, Mark Herr, has called Blumenthal's claims "incorrect."

"The payments he appears to be referring to were made months ago, have been widely reported on and were specifically disclosed to the Treasury," he said.

Blumenthal rejected AIG's explanation saying, "we heard a few explanations, but quite honestly, none of the apparent justifications hold water with me. Because whether the payments were made in December or March, I want to know how much they were."