19 Mar 2009

AIG chief asks for bonuses back

7:51 am on 19 March 2009

The boss of AIG has asked some recipients of executive bonuses at the US insurance group to return at least half of the payments.

Edward Liddy told a Congressional hearing on Wednesday that he had asked AIG executives receiving a bonus of more than $US100,000 to pay at least half back.

AIG has obtained about $US170 billion of aid from the US government, and the bonus payments have caused outrage.

Mr Liddy is appearing in front of the Congressional committee to answer questions about the bonuses and the plight of AIG.

Before Mr Liddy appeared, members of the committee expressed their anger, not just at the bonuses paid to AIG executives, but also at the $US170 billion bail-out by the US government.

Earlier this week, President Barack Obama expressed anger at the bonuses, calling the payments "an outrage".

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has since said that the government will deduct the bonuses from government funds due to be paid to the insurer.

Heavy losses

Mr Liddy, former chief executive of the Allstate insurance firm, took over at AIG in September, just days days after it was saved from bankruptcy with an injection of $US85 billion from the government.

He said the company had "strayed from its core competencies in the insurance business".

AIG has since reported a loss of $US61.7 billion for the last three months of 2008 - the biggest quarterly loss in corporate history.