We certainly feel for Hank Greenberg, the longtime AIG (AIG) boss, who held onto most of his holdings in the company even after being forced out by Eliot Spitzer.
But at this point, we’re really not sure what he adds to the discussion about the fate of the company and the mis-handled bailout.
He found himself on Capitol Hill today, complaining that attempts to save AIG have failed.
Hank, we know you lost a lot of dough, but saving AIG was never the point. It’s always been about saving the AIG counterparties. Always. Even if bailing out the counterparties was smart, the fact that AIG has any equity value at all is an unfortunate byproduct of the bailout.
Of course, Greenberg continues to throw his hands up when it comes to his own (lack of) culpability:
WSJ: Rep. Elijah Cummings (D., Md.) was more direct, asking Mr. Greenberg during a heated exchange, “Do you take any responsibility at all?”
Mr. Greenberg, accompanied by high-profile attorney David Boies, refused to accept any blame.
“No I don’t,” Mr. Greenberg said, referring to subsequent losses at the financial-products division and downgrades of AIG’s ratings. He said the management that took over when he left the firm “must have paid very little attention” to the growing problems that led to the firm’s demise.
While Joseph Cassano (who was hired by Hank Greenberg) may have designed the strategy that blew up the world economy, we just can’t believe that it all went to hell in a handbasket immediately upon Greenberg’s departure. Even if you ignore the CDS misadventure, you still have a long history of rot and scandal.
See TPMMuckraker, which has been doing an excellent job detailing AIG’s history of building illegal tax shelters for its clients.
Here’s a good clip of Greenberg getting slapped down by committed chair Paul Kanjorski from today’s hearings:
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