* Board to meet Wednesday to decide
* NYTimes first reported plans to join suit
* Ex-CEO Greenberg called Fed ‘loan shark’
Jan 8 (Reuters) - American International Group Inc, the insurer rescued by the U.S. government in 2008 with a bailout that ultimately totaled $182 billion, may join a lawsuit against the government alleging the terms of the deal were unfair.
The company confirmed a New York Times report that said AIG’s board would meet Wednesday to discuss joining a lawsuit filed against the government by the insurer’s former chief executive, Hank Greenberg.
The move would be something of a shock development given that AIG just launched a high-profile TV ad campaign called “Thank you America,” in which it offers gratitude for the rescue, which was fully repaid with a profit last year.
At the same time, Chief Executive Bob Benmosche has complained publicly that the company and its management have not gotten enough credit for avoiding a collapse, turning the business around and returning to profitability.
Greenberg, whose Starr International owned 12 percent of AIG before its near-collapse, has accused the Federal Reserve Bank of New York of using the rescue to bail out Wall Street banks at the expense of shareholders, and of being a “loan shark” by charging exorbitant interest on the initial loan.
A federal judge in Manhattan dismissed Greenberg’s suit against the New York Fed in November; a separate suit under different legal theories in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims is still pending.
An AIG spokesman declined to comment beyond confirming that the board would meet.