* Disputes reports saying automaker requested pay increase
* Says requested $9 mln pay package, not $11.1 mln
* GM says compensation request misinterpreted for political gain
* U.S. Treasury kicked off sale of GM stock in January
By Deepa Seetharaman
DETROIT, Feb 26 (Reuters) - General Motors Co denied that it asked U.S. officials to allow for a pay increase of more than 20 percent for its top executive and said its request was misinterpreted for “political points” ahead of a congressional hearing on executive pay.
GM submitted a request to U.S. officials to pay Chief Executive Dan Akerson $9 million for 2013, about the same as his 2012 and 2011 pay packages, GM said in a statement on Tuesday.
The largest U.S. automaker’s statement came in response to media reports that GM wanted to pay Akerson $11.1 million for 2013.
Those reports came ahead of a U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Tuesday. The hearing focuses on whether the U.S. Treasury approved excessive pay for executives at companies that received federal bailouts.
“Unfortunately, someone who obviously did not understand the compensation request leaked the information in a way that misrepresented the truth in order to score political points on the eve of a congressional hearing,” GM said in its statement.
Compensation of GM executives is governed by a special paymaster from the U.S. government as part of provisions put in place after GM’s U.S.-funded bankruptcy restructuring in 2009.
GM has repaid about $29 billion of the $50 billion that the U.S. government poured into GM to keep the automaker afloat in 2009. In December, Treasury said would sell 200 million shares back to GM for $5.5 billion and sell its remaining holdings through other measures.
The U.S. government made the first of those stock sales last month, when it sold about $156.4 million worth of GM common shares, according to a Treasury Department report.
GM shares were up 0.5 percent at $26.46 on Tuesday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange.