Washington: The political scandal over AIG bonuses hit a new high on Saturday as US media reported the bailed-out insurance giant paid $218 million, over 50 million more than had been disclosed.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal calculated the new figures for bonuses paid out by the embattled American International Group after receiving documents from the company Friday, the Hartford Courant reported.
The company was quick to reject Blumenthal’s number, asserting that the bonuses amounted to the previously disclosed total of $165 million.
AIG spokesman Joseph Norton said that the company’s CEO, Edward Liddy, had fully explained the bonuses to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
“Mr Liddy said in his correspondence to Mr Geithner that a payment under the retention program was made in December before this latest March payment,” Norton said.
“At this point, not having seen what Mr Blumenthal said, we believe that’s what he is referring to. The March payments were $165 million, not $218 million.”
Blumenthal told the newspaper he was not referring only to bonus payments made in March.
“We’ve not only added the numbers, but the company has given us documents that have the number at $218 million ,” Blumenthal said.
“Some of that total is from earlier bonuses, but the main point is all of it seems to be out of taxpayer funds ... Whether the payments were made in December or March seems to be beside the point. The total that was disclosed so far was $165 million.”
In a legal document, AIG said “about $55 million of retention pay was previously paid around December” while another $93 million was scratched “because of losses at the company,” according to the Courant.
The federal government has already pumped over $170 billion of taxpayer money into AIG.