Under Pressure, AIG Discloses Recipients of Bailout Billions

The Washington Post:


In the six months since the government's bailout of insurance giant American International Group, a rescue that has become increasingly costly and contentious, one question has loomed above all others: Where did the money go?

The answer became a little clearer yesterday when AIG unexpectedly released the names of dozens of trading partners it has paid using billions in taxpayer dollars. The disclosure, which the company said was made after consulting the Federal Reserve, revealed that AIG paid more than $75 billion in the final months of 2008 to numerous domestic and foreign banks, as well as to various U.S. municipalities.

The funds were paid from the government's initial $85 billion emergency loan in September and included major firms such as Goldman Sachs, Societe Generale, Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Barclays.

The payments were made between Sept. 16 -- the date that government assistance began -- and Dec. 31.

More than $34 billion of the money went to trading partners of AIG Financial Products, the small subsidiary whose exotic derivatives brought AIG to the edge of collapse. In recent years, the firm had written massive numbers of credit-default swaps, insurance-like contracts that other companies bought as protection against the default of mortgage-backed securities. When the housing boom began to go bust, banks that had purchased the swaps demanded collateral from AIG, burying the company under a tidal wave of debt. Federal officials, wanting to keep the company from failing because they feared it was too intertwined with the global economy, stepped in to help.

In the last months of 2008, AIG Financial Products paid more than $22 billion in taxpayer money to satisfy debts caused by its swap contracts. Another $12 billion went to pay off municipalities in dozens of states for whom the firm had created complex investment agreements.

Read the entire story here.

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