Iowa’s Sen. Grassley Suggests AIG Execs Consider ‘Japanese’ Suicide

March 17, 2009

A prominent U.S. senator has intimated that executives of the troubled insurer American International Group Inc might consider suicide, adopting what he called a Japanese approach to taking responsibility for their actions.

Senator Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, made his comments on the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, radio station WMT on Monday.

“The first thing that would make me feel a little bit better toward them (is) if they’d follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, I’m sorry, and then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide,” Grassley said.

“And in the case of the Japanese,” he added, “they usually commit suicide before they make any apology.”

President Barack Obama on Monday expressed “outrage” about some $165 million of bonuses paid to AIG employees, including some who worked in the unit primarily responsible for the company’s troubles.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has said he will subpoena AIG for more information about the bonuses, including the names of the recipients.

Grassley’s office did not immediately return a request for comment. A spokesman, Casey Mills, told the Associated Press that the senator “doesn’t want U.S. executives” to commit suicide, but that executives who “make a mess of their companies should apologize, as Japanese executives do.”

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; editing by John Wallace)

Topics Iowa AIG Japan

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