White collar criminals have had a rough couple of weeks, with judges ignoring important facts like Danielle Chiesi’s insider trading being caused by a deep need to stop her boss from “belittling her understanding of the financial numbers” and Donald Longueuil’s only insider trading on the job, never in his personal life. But there’s finally some good news today, as a federal appeals court reversed five convictions for a reinsurance fraud at AIG. Unlike in Chiesi’s and Longueuil’s cases, the court today looked at the bigger picture and understood that you can’t blame a few small-time book-cookers for all of the terrible things at AIG.
Also, no one connected with AIG in any way is going to jail any time soon. Read more »
In a video accompanying a 40-page slide show describing AIG’s attributes, businesses and financial goals, Chief Executive Robert Benmosche said “there is no more crisis” for the bailed-out insurance company, which now has “lots of growth opportunities,” in his view. Alluding to recent tensions over the size and potential price of the stock offering that AIG and the U.S. Department of the Treasury launched this week, Mr. Benmosche said in the video: “Our sense is we have an incredible valuation opportunity here and we’re just not going to give it away. “If we don’t get the value today, then we’re going to get the value tomorrow… We’re not going to give 100% of the value away and sell it too cheap,” Mr. Benmosche said. [WSJ]
The role of Goldman Sachs in AIG’s saga had its roots in a little- remarked-upon series of promotions involving a pair of managers known as the “J. Aron guys” taking control of Goldman’s Fixed- Income, Commodities, and Currency unit in the late 1990s. Gary Cohn and Lloyd Blankfein, veterans of Goldman’s sharp-elbowed commodities trading operation, saw a need to do things differently. Read more »
AIG executives, in their first conference call with Wall Street analysts in two years, sounded a cautiously optimistic tone as they mapped out the company’s future and explained its weak fourth-quarter operating results…When asked about the market position of AIG’s property and casualty business, now known as Chartis, which a Goldman Sachs analyst described on the call as being “the 800-pound gorilla” of the industry before the financial crisis, Mr. Benmosche quipped: “I would say we are about 780 pounds, and on our way back.” [WSJ]
When a group of Duke University lacrosse students were wrongfully accused of sexually assaulting a stripper a few years back, did you watch from the sidelines, wracking your brain as to how you could somehow get in on the action? You probably didn’t want to be one of the main players but when the story came up in conversation you didn’t want to comment as simply someone who’d read about it. A bit role was all you needed- just enough to speak authoritatively, like an insider, and/or to assure a mention in the closing credits of some sort of made for TV movie. If you’re taxpaying citizen of the United States, today’s your lucky day. Read more »
During a rainstorm in Washington in early 2009, amid the furor over Wall Street’s post-bailout bonuses, an American International Group employee pulled out an umbrella that had the insurer’s name on it. “Somebody came by, grabbed the umbrella and broke it,” said AIG Chief Executive Robert Benmosche, who added that the attacker told the employee to engage in a sexual act impossible to perform on oneself. [Reuters]