AIG execs agree to return $30 million in bonuses

The vast majority of the money paid out recently isn't coming back, but most of the top bonus recipients are returning theirs.

Published March 23, 2009 10:55PM (EDT)

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo -- who, given the possibility that he'll run for governor in 2010, has to be loving all this -- announced Monday that AIG executives have agreed to return, in total, about $30 million of the bonus money the company recently paid out.

Considering this means that, for now, less than one-fifth of the $165 million in bonus money is coming back, it's unlikely this number will do much to stem the anger directed at AIG. One other announcement Cuomo made might help, though -- nine of the top 10 recipients agreed to return their bonuses, as did 15 of the top 20 recipients from the company's financial products division, which is at the heart of the firm's woes.

Cuomo also said he hopes more executives will decide to return their bonuses, and that he thinks his office will end up recouping about $80 million. Hampering his efforts, however, is the fact that only 47 percent of the money went to American citizens.

As I've noted before, the citizenship of the recipients also poses a problem when it comes to Congress' plan to get the money back through a hefty tax. The financial products division was headquartered in London, and any non-U.S. citizens working there aren't subject to American taxes.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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