AIG boss questioned about bonuses
(AP) - The head of battered insurance giant AIG told Congress on Wednesday that "we've heard the American people loudly and clearly" in their rage over executive bonuses, and he appealed to employees to return at least half the money.
Testifying under oath at a congressional hearing as intense as any in recent memory, Edward Liddy said some workers already have stepped forward to give money back.
The company became the target of a political firestorm after the disclosure over the weekend that it had paid $165 million in "retention bonuses" to its employees at the same time it was accepting bailout funds from U.S. taxpayers. Some of the payments were made to the same traders and executives whose risky financial behavior caused the company's near collapse.
Liddy told a House Financial Services subcommittee that, while the bonuses were a legal obligation of the company that is now 80 percent owned by the federal government, he had "asked those who have received retention payments in excess of $100,000 or more to return at least half of those payments. Some have already stepped up and returned" 100 percent.
He provided no further details.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has been publicly critical of the bonuses, as have President Barack Obama, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and congressional leaders from both parties.