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AIG execs not facing criminal charges

  |   May 22, 2010 at 10:34 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 22 (UPI) -- Federal prosecutors plan no criminal charges against current and former executives of American International Group Inc., The Wall Street Journal reported.

The criminal investigation had focused on the executives' role in financial contracts that nearly led to the collapse of the giant insurer.

The government bailed out AIG in 2008, in one of the biggest bailouts of the financial crisis.

The investigation focused on Joseph Cassano, the head of AIG's Financial Products unit in London, the Journal said, citing sources familiar with the case. Sources also told the Journal the investigation looked into other executives in that unit, Andrew Forster and Tom Athan.

"The system worked," the attorneys for Cassano, F. Joseph Warin and Jim Walden, said in a statement. "The large group of federal agents and prosecutors was diligent and professional throughout the investigation, and our client is grateful that they did their jobs by following the facts to the end."

Forster's attorneys, David M. Brodsky and Richard Owens, said they were confident they could convince prosecutors "our client at all times acted in good faith."

The investigation looked into whether the executives were up front with investors and outside auditors about the firm's exposure from the financial contracts, credit default swaps tied partly to mortgages, sources told The Journal.

The Justice Department has had difficulty showing any criminal activity at the financial companies rocked by the credit crisis. A securities fraud case against two former hedge-fund managers at Bear Stearns, accused of misleading investors, ended in an acquittal.

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