Funds News

UPDATE 1-AIG shareholders sue PricewaterhouseCoopers

(Rewrites first paragraph; adds background)

LOS ANGELES, Oct 1 (Reuters) - American International Group Inc AIG.N shareholders renewed claims against the company's auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and about four dozen other individuals and companies, seeking to hold them liable for a financial restatement and a $1.64 billion regulatory settlement.

The derivative action -- a claim brought by shareholders on behalf of a corporation -- was filed in Delaware Chancery Court on Friday.

AIG shareholders previously sued in 2004, naming former Chief Executive Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, former Chief Financial Officer Howard Smith, PwC and others as defendants. In the amended complaint, filed on Friday, the shareholders seek damages from PwC and others, including Marsh & McLennan Cos Inc MMC.N, ACE LtdACE.N, and several current and former AIG directors and officers.

In June, AIG took over the shareholders’ lawsuit against Greenberg and Smith, becoming sole plaintiff in the case and leaving shareholders to decide whether to pursue claims against some or all of the remaining defendants, including PwC.

AIG, the largest U.S. insurer, on Friday restated its claims against Greenberg and Smith for allegedly breaching the fiduciary duties they owed the company, while shareholders refiled their claims against some of the original defendants.

AIG “decided not to sue (PwC) based on the recommendation of a special litigation committee of AIG’s board of directors” and the company “continues to have full confidence in the independence of PwC,” a company spokesman said.

In May 2005, then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer accused Greenberg and Smith of misleading investors and muddling AIG’s finances by using sham reinsurance contracts and other transactions to hide losses.

AIG, which ousted Greenberg and Smith, wrote off $3.92 billion in profits from 2000 through 2004 and wrote down $2.26 billion of shareholder equity.

It agreed in February 2006 to pay $1.64 billion in fines and restitution to settle regulatory probes.