Oh, Did AIG Say They Paid $120 Million in Bonuses? They Actually Meant $454 Million

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Well, this is a shame. Just when it seemed like TARPaholic AIG was getting back on its feet after having reached an important milestone, the insurance giant's old demons have come back to haunt it. Specifically, the issue of the amount of bonuses the company paid out in 2008 has slunk back into their squeaky-clean new lives like an old boyfriend in a bloodstained leather jacket, and AIG has gone right back to its old ways. It seems the company was a little cagey about the amount it doled out (lying, subterfuge, and funky accounting being some of the side effects of their debilitating disease) and the figure is higher — much higher — than previously reported.

To review, back in March, CEO Edward Liddy told the House Financial Services subcommittee that, excluding the $165 million in controversial retention bonuses, the company had paid out "in the range of $9 million" company-wide.

Then the next day AIG spokesman Nick Ashooh revised the figure upward, telling Politico that actually, it was more like, um, $120 million.

And now, in response to a detailed, "I am not a chump, so don't think you can bullshit me" question from Maryland Representative Elijah Cummings, the insurer has confessed the actually, ok, the real number they paid out in bonuses in 2008 is:

$454 million.

Is that their final answer? Who knows. The company tried to blame the differing answers on the "different wording" of the questions, but Elijah Cummings wasn't falling for that old trick. He was disappointed, angry, and dare we say it? Hurt. “I simply cannot fathom why this company continues to erode the trust of the public and the U.S. Congress, rather than being forthcoming about these issues from the start," he told Politico. Neither can we. After all this, AIG is going to have to go back to Step One: honesty.

AIG bonuses four times higher than reported [Politico]