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Consumer Watchdog: AIG bonuses should be delivered by FBI

Posted: March 16, 2009 7:11 p.m.
Updated: March 16, 2009 4:16 p.m.
 
SANTA MONICA, Calif. - Consumer advocates said that federal law enforcement agencies should create a special investigative unit dedicated to unearthing any fraud or misconduct attributable to AIG employees paid bonuses since taxpayers bailed out the company.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit Consumer Watchdog said that AIG executives and employees who claim a "contractual right" to a bonus should be subject to the strictest scrutiny by the FBI and Department of Justice.

"Anybody at AIG who wants to collect a bonus should be alerted that it will be delivered by an FBI agent along with a long list of questions," said Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court. "American taxpayers saved every one of these jobs last fall, at unprecedented public expense, so the fact that anyone at AIG even has the nerve to ask for their bonus is galling."

According to the Los Angeles Times, Treasury Secretary Geithner "agreed that the employees might win punitive damages if their contracts were broken."

Consumer Watchdog's Executive Director Doug Heller said, "As the owners of AIG, American taxpayers have a right - and the government has an obligation - to demand that not a dime of bonus money is paid to anyone who broke the law, defrauded a shareholder or, and this is key, can be tied to the disastrous collapse of AIG that led to the bailout. If these executives and traders are willing to sue to protect their bonus, then they better be sure their record is squeaky clean."

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