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Obama outraged, blocks AIG bonuses

US President Barack Obama moved to block bonuses amounting to $165 million at bailed-out insurance giant AIG as analysts said public anger over the payouts could singe the president, reports V Krishna.

business Updated: Mar 18, 2009 00:17 IST
V Krishna

US President Barack Obama moved on Monday to block bonuses amounting to $165 million at bailed-out insurance giant AIG as analysts said public anger over the payouts could singe the president.

... it’s hard to understand how

It is hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay. How do they justify this to taxpayers? I am choked up with anger here. — Barack Obama, US president

“I’ve asked (Treasury) Secretary (Tim) Geithner to ... pursue every single legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole,” Obama said at a White House event.

Obama said the bonuses for AIG executives and traders revealed over the weekend were an outrage. “This is a corporation that finds itself in financial distress due to recklessness and greed,” he said.

“It’s hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay. How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers ...?”

The company has received $170 billion in taxpayer funds.

AIG CEO Edward Liddy had said there were “serious legal, as well as business, consequences for not paying” the bonuses.