AIG reveals $454 million in 2008 performance bonuses

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Embattled insurer American International Group paid some $454 million in previously undisclosed performance bonuses to employees for 2008, the company said in answers to questions from a U.S. lawmaker that were released on Tuesday.

AIG was widely criticized for paying out some $165 million in retention bonuses after it received some $180 billion in government bailout aid. Some of the retention bonuses were returned by employees after the firestorm of criticism.

The company told Representative Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, the performance bonuses were paid out by operating units, across the company’s operations in some 120 countries.

Payments ranged from an average of $5,403 to employees of its property-casualty group, to $51,026 on average for those in its asset management group.

The payments are in addition to an about $120 million corporate bonus pool designated for holding company employees and executives at subsidiary companies.

The performance bonus plans for the various AIG units were set before the company teetered on the brink of bankruptcy, forcing them to take government aid last September.

The payments are separate from $1 billion in retention payments to entice employees to stay with the company.

The company also told Cummings AIG’s bonus plans for 2009 were under development, “in consultation with the Federal Reserve and Treasury.”

Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky in Washington and Lilla Zuill in New York, Editing by Andre Grenon