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Obama 'outraged' at AIG bonuses
Posted on: 17-03-2009 , 04:: | DY365 Bureau

"It's hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165m in extra pay," he said.

He has told Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to "pursue every single legal avenue" to block the bonuses.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs later said AIG's next bailout payment could be altered to protect taxpayers.

He did not say how this could be achieved, but analysts say the government could reduce the payment - which is $30bn - by $165m, in order to force AIG to account for the bonuses in another way.

'Play by rules'

AIG announced the bonus payouts on Sunday.

In a speech which was intended to launch initiatives to help small businesses deal with the economic crisis, President Obama strongly criticised the company.

"All across the country, there are people who work hard and meet their responsibilities every day, without the benefit of government bailouts or multimillion-dollar bonuses," he said.

"And all they ask is that everyone, from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, play by the same rules."

The $165m was payable to executives by Sunday and part of a larger total payout reportedly put at $450m.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo now says he has issued legal papers demanding that AIG reveal the names of those receiving the bonuses - something which he says the firm has refused to do.

"When a company pays funds that the company effectively doesn't have, it's akin to a looting of a company," he said.

AIG has not yet commented on the legal move, but a spokeswoman said the firm was "in ongoing contact" with the attorney general


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