American International Group, the insurer rescued by the US government in 2008 with a bailout that ultimately totalled $182bn (£113.2bn), may join a lawsuit against the government alleging the terms of the deal were unfair.
The company confirmed a New York Times report that said AIG’s board would meet today to discuss joining a lawsuit filed against the government by the insurer’s former chief executive, Hank Greenberg.
The move would be something of a shock development given that AIG just launched a high-profile TV ad campaign called ‘Thank you America’, in which it offers gratitude for the rescue, which was fully repaid with a profit last year.
At the same time, chief executive Bob Benmosche has complained publicly that the company and its management have not gotten enough credit for avoiding a collapse, turning the business around and returning to profitability.
Mr Greenberg, whose Starr International owned 12 per cent of AIG before its near-collapse, has accused the Federal Reserve Bank of New York of using the rescue to bail out Wall Street banks at the expense of shareholders, and of being a ‘loan shark’ by charging exorbitant interest on the initial loan.
A federal judge in Manhattan dismissed Mr Greenberg’s suit against the New York Fed in November; a separate suit under different legal theories in the US Court of Federal Claims is still pending.
An AIG spokesman declined to comment beyond confirming that the board would meet.