Ex-chief of AIG derivatives unit: Corners not cut in risk buildup
A former top executive of insurer American International Group Inc. said his division more than tripled the amount of risky investments it insured in the three years leading up to the 2008 financial meltdown.
But Joseph Cassano, chief executive for AIG’s key Financial Products division, rejected accusations from a special panel investigating the crisis that he relaxed standards to issue more credit default swaps.
AIG received a $182 billion taxpayer bailout — the biggest of the federal rescues — after it nearly collapsed and helped trigger the financial crisis. Cassano, who was forced to retire in March 2008, said the federal government paid too much to settle AIG’s debt and that the company would have recouped much of its investments if those trades hadn’t been nullified during its bailout. “I think I would have negotiated a much better deal for the taxpayer than what the taxpayer got,” he said.