AIG Will Not Join Lawsuit Against Government

The company will not join in its former CEO's lawsuit against the U.S. government.

Protesters hold signs as former AIG CEO Edward Liddy prepares to testify before the House Financial Services Committee March 18, 2009. Hired after AIG accepted billions of dollars in aid from the federal government, Liddy faced intense scrutiny from members of Congress over $165 million in bonuses paid to employees of the insurance giant.
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AIG announced Wednesday afternoon that it has decided not to take part in financial services firm Starr International's lawsuit against the U.S. government.

"The AIG Board has determined to refuse Starr's demand in its entirety, and will neither pursue these claims itself nor permit Starr to pursue them in AIG's name," said a company statement.

The company's board of directors today met with Hank Greenberg, a former company CEO and current head of Starr International. That lawsuit alleges that the government's 2008 bailout of AIG imposed unfair terms upon the company, including "punitive" interest rates on those bailout loans and the use of AIG to provide "backdoor bailouts" to big banks. Greenberg had asked AIG to join in the lawsuit.

The suit seeks $25 billion in damages on behalf of AIG shareholders, slightly more than the $22.7 billion that the government has earned in profits off of the AIG bailout.

[EARLIER: Reasons Why AIG Would Sue the Government]

News earlier this week that AIG was considering the lawsuit sparked an outpouring of vitriol from commentators and lawmakers. Many criticized the company as appearing ungrateful for the more than $180 billion dollars it received in bailout funds. The potential suit also took on an ironic tinge, as the company is running an advertisement called "Thank You, America," in which it thanks taxpayers for the bailout money.

AIG's statement did not provide a full explanation of the decision, but said that the company will soon file a formal statement with the courts explaining in greater detail why it made this decision. The chairman of AIG's board reiterated his gratitude to the American people in the statement.

"America invested in 62,000 AIG employees, and we kept our promise to rebuild this great company, repay every dollar America invested in us, and deliver a profit to those who put their trust in us," the statement read. "To date, AIG has returned $205 billion to America, including a profit of $22.7 billion."

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