Page last updated at 12:41 GMT, Friday, 20 March 2009

Nineteen US states go after AIG

Anne Milgram
New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram wants AIG bonuses paid back

Nineteen US states are demanding that insurance giant AIG reveal details of bonuses paid to executives, so they can take steps to recover the funds.

This comes after New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said AIG had given him such a list on Thursday.

The US House of Representatives has passed a bill to levy a tax of 90% on the big bonuses paid to people working at firms that have received state aid.

The $165m (£114m) of bonuses have caused outrage across the US.

US President Barack Obama has denounced such bonuses, while even AIG boss Edward Liddy has described them as "distasteful".

AIG has taken $170bn in aid from the US government.

'Padding' pockets

New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram said she had sent a letter to AIG boss Edward Liddy demanding a list of employees who received payments.

Founded in 1919
30 million US policy holders
Operates in 130 countries
Provides insurance to 100,000 companies and other entities

"We want to ensure the investing public that money received by the company is being utilised to improve the financial welfare of the company, not pad the pockets of the same individuals who led to the financial crisis in the first place," said Ms Milgram.

Connecticut has also subpoenaed AIG for the details. Governor Jodi Rell said the state would pursue "all legal means available to void the bonuses and recapture the taxpayer dollars."

The coalition of states is made up of Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and West Virginia.

Unimagined mistakes

On Thursday, US lawmakers in the House of Representatives voted 328-93 in favour of legislation to levy a 90% tax on large bonuses from firms bailed out by taxpayers.

On Wednesday, Mr Liddy said that "mistakes were made at AIG on a scale that few could have imagined possible."

AIG was saved from bankruptcy when it was granted an $85bn lifeline last September.

The government has since pumped billions more into the troubled insurer, which reported a loss of $61.7bn for the last three months of 2008, the biggest quarterly loss in corporate history.

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