WASHINGTON, March 18 (UPI) -- AIG executives and employees have been asked to return at least half of bonuses they received, the insurance giant's chief told a U.S. House panel Wednesday.
During his opening remarks, American International Group Chief Executive Officer Edward Liddy said he asked employees who received at least $100,000 to return at least half of the amount they got, and that some returned all of their bonuses.
Before the information about the $165 million in bonuses was revealed, the House panel chairman chided Liddy about rushing to pay them, noting they were mailed Saturday.
"This was a rush to payment," said Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., chairman of the House Financial Services' subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises, noting that he talked with Liddy about whether the bonuses could be suppressed or invalidated.
"I thought you were missing the gravity of the situation," said Kanjorski.
Liddy said, "There was no intention to deceive or hide anything," but a March 15 deadline had to be met.
Subcommittee ranking Republican Rep. Scott Garrett of New Jersey asked whether there was an exit strategy to repay the federal government.
Liddy said the plan was to sell "whatever assets we can" to repay funds it received from the Federal Reserve and through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, in that order, as well as place money in a separate fund to satisfy the Fed debt.
Financial Service Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., asked Liddy to provide the names of the executives who received bonuses. If Liddy didn't produce the names, Frank said he would seek a committee subpoena for the information.
Liddy said he would provide the information if the list's confidentiality could be preserved because threats have been made.
"You have a legitimate request but I have to protect the employees," Liddy said.
While not willing accept the list with a guarantee of confidentiality, Frank said he would be willing to discuss potential threats with law enforcement officials, and left the matter open for further discussion.
Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., advised Liddy to "pay that $165 million back. ... Cut your loses."