AIG sends bonus list to Cuomo

New York attorney general's office says it will not yet release employee names.

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By Julianne Pepitone, contributing writer

What should the government do about AIG bonuses?
  • Tax them
  • Make AIG pay them back
  • Nothing, a contract's a contract

NEW YORK ( -- Under pressure, American International Group sent the New York attorney general's office a list of employees who received bonuses, according to a statement released Thursday.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office confirmed it had received the list, but said it would not release any names yet.

The embattled AIG (AIG, Fortune 500) came under fire this week for paying $165 million in bonuses to senior employees, after the company received taxpayer bailout money for the fourth time in six months. Seventy-three bonuses topped $1 million.

AIG Chief Executive Edward Liddy testified before a House Financial Services subcommittee Wednesday and expressed concern for employee safety.

"We are aware of the security concerns of AIG employees, and we will be sensitive to those issues by doing a risk assessment before releasing any individual's name," Cuomo's office said, in a statement.

Liddy has said employees who took home more than $100,000 in bonuses have been asked to return at least half.

"As we perform our review, we will simultaneously be working with AIG over the next few days to determine which employees received payments and which chose to return the money they received," Cuomo's office said.

Earlier Thursday, the House of Representatives passed legislation to tax individuals on any bonuses received in 2009 from companies getting $5 billion or more in money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Bonuses for people with incomes over $250,000 would be taxed at a 90% rate.

Cuomo's statement thanked AIG for its compliance, adding that the office "will responsibly balance the public's right to know how their tax dollars are spent with individual security, privacy rights and corporate prerogative."

The statement also included a nod to the public uproar over the bonus money: "At this moment, with emotions running high, it is important that we proceed diligently, with care, reflection and sober judgment."

In a statement released by AIG, the embattled insurer said it was glad to appease Cuomo, and it trusted the Attorney General to handle the information with due respect.

"We are pleased that we were able to resolve this issue with the Attorney General in a manner that balances his need for the information with our legitimate and real concerns about the safety of our employees," said AIG spokesman Joseph Norton.

"We are confident that the Attorney General will thoroughly weigh the safety risks before disclosing any employee's name, and we look forward to continuing to work with him on these issues in a cooperative and constructive manner."  To top of page

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