Court Affirms AIG Must Give Ex-CEO Greenberg Access to Files

By | June 6, 2008

American International Group Inc. will have to surrender certain privileged documents to its former chief executive, according to a New York Court of Appeals ruling Thursday.

Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, who ran AIG for nearly four decades, has been seeking the documents since 2005, saying he needs access to them in order to defend himself against various legal actions, including those launched by former New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

A spokesman for Greenberg said he expected the documents to be turned over by AIG within 10 days.

Greenberg won the right to access the documents in February when an appeals court ruling overturned a lower court decision denying Greenberg and former AIG Chief Financial Officer Howard Smith access to the documents.

AIG within days sought a stay of that order and requested leave to appeal.

“This decision involved 16 documents that have no bearing on any of the transactions in the attorney general’s case,” said AIG spokesman Chris Winans Thursday.

But Greenberg’s lawyer Nicholas Gravante said, “There are thousands of documents covered by this order and we will continue to press to get each and every one of them.”

The document dispute with AIG is one element of a protracted legal fight between Greenberg and his former company.

Both Greenberg and Smith left AIG in 2005 amid allegations made by Spitzer and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of improper accounting. Some of Spitzer’s allegations against Greenberg were dismissed in 2006.

Greenberg and Smith have also been named in shareholder and derivative lawsuits filed after AIG in 2006 agreed to pay more than $1 billion to settle allegations.

Greenberg may also face SEC charges after last month receiving a “Wells notice” indicating possible charges over his role in reinsurance transactions between AIG and an affiliate, as well as with Berkshire Hathaway’s General Re Corp unit.

Several former executives of AIG and General Re have been convicted of conspiring to inflate AIG’s loss reserves by $500 million through a reinsurance transaction with Berkshire.

(Editing by Leslie Gevirtz, editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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