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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cunningham & Greenberg on AIG

The AIG Story (Chapter 18, Nationalization), by Lawrence A. Cunningham, George Washington University Law School, and Maurice R. Greenberg, Starr International Company, Inc, was recently posted on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This is the final chapter of The AIG Story, a book about the growth of a large international insurance company that pioneered the opening of new markets and helped forge milestone international trade agreements, followed by an account of its near-destruction, first at the hands of an overzealous state attorney general and underwhelming board of directors, and then, as detailed in this chapter, at the hands of federal government officials overwhelmed by a financial crisis they could not understand. This chapter begins in mid-2008, when AIG’s losing financial products bets presented the company with a huge liquidity problem, though it commanded nearly a trillion dollars in assets that made it entirely solvent. The world’s largest banks faced both liquidity and solvency problems that threatened a global financial meltdown. Swooping into the maelstrom, the U.S. Treasury and New York Fed engineered a solution that portrayed AIG as the greatest villain of the crisis and its treatment by the government as a rescue of the company. The truth is more complex and this chapter of the book explains, in what Kirkus has aptly described, reviewing the book, as “a useful contribution to the ongoing shaping of the story of the recent financial crisis.”

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