American International Group (AIG) will get another $30 billion in government aid. This comes on the heels of its quarterly loss of $61.7 billion.
There’s nothing like rewarding massive failure with a series of massive bailouts. This included taking a $21 billion charge related to taxes and wrote down $25.9 billion in assets this quarter, which included mortgage-back dreck and credit-default swill, according to The New York Times.
This is the fourth bailout, so far, so the government now owns 80 percent of the insurer’s holding company, owing to the previous bailouts, including a $60 billion loan, a $40 billion purchase of preferred shares and $50 billion to soak up poison assets. How we doin, okay? But Federal officials are going to hang in there with AIG, valued at about $1 billion by hedge funds, according to Jim Cramer’s The Street.com, behind General Motors at $1.4 billion, both from giants to small caps.
The government’s cumulative bailouts from AIG far exceed Citi-group ($50 bill) and Bank of America ($45). AIG faced default on debt, purportedly threatening to send “shock waves through the system” as banks holding AIG derivatives were banging on the table for cash and other payments. I say, let them eat cake. Nevertheless, credit rating agencies were not going to downgrade the company’s debt. How large of them.
AIG will get its $30 billion in cash from the TARP. AIG won’t “draw down the money immediately.” What a joke, maybe what, next week? AIG can also trade $40 billion in preferred shares that don’t require dividends. That’ll save it $4 billion. And if that weren’t enough, it won’t have to pay back $38 billion in cash with interest that it used from a federal credit line. The gov will turn that into equity in two of AIG’s subsidiaries in Asia that are making money.
This gives the government direct ownership in the latter, with the possibility of saleable assets, believe it or not, to taxpayers, even if AIG holding company crapped out on its loans. Also, the government agreed to lower the interest rate on all remaining AIG debt to match London’s Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor. The previous rate would be three percentage points higher. That would save Arrogance, Ignorance and Greed another billion in interest payments.
Remember, in September the Fed laid $85 billion on it for cash calls AIG couldn’t meet. That’s when the company turned over 80 percent of its shares to the government. Edward M. Liddy, the veteran insurance exec, was brought in to restructure the giant AIG into a small cap, by selling other operating units for cash, payable in two years. Liddy drew up a plan, saying he expect a well-capitalized AIG to last after this.
In two weeks it was clear that AIG was so deep in debt the $85 billion wouldn’t do the trick. The debt was sucking up money like a Wall Street whore. The $150 billion AIG needed was cut to $60 billion and the period of payment was stretched to five from two years. At the same time, the government shot another $40 billion into AIG for its preferred shares. It constructed two special-purpose entities to take the worst toxic assets plaguing AIG out of the game. Talk about athletes taking steroids!
It all kept the government’s stake at 77.9 percent. If it went over 80 percent, catch this, the government would have to bundle all AIG assets and liabilities into its own finances, putting taxpayers on the hook for claims of some 76 million insurance policyholders round the globe. And even though the restructuring bought AIG time, it wasn’t able to sell the operating units Liddy put up for sale. Even when some were sold, the prices were dirt cheep.
Now, the question you’re asking yourself is why? Why all this loot for this cockamamie company? Well, the major reason is that AIG has traditionally been a CIA front because it operated in 158 countries and was capable of vast money-laundering for various ops, not to mention having agents (not just insurance agents) working with it. That’s the short of a long story. It also has provided a feast for short-sellers who have been buying AIG on the cheap, further crippling it.
Remember, this is a company whose former CEO, Martin Sullivan, told investors in December 2007, according to Ian Cooper’s Options Trading Pit, who wrote The Architects of Destruction, that “We are confident in our marks and the reasonableness of our valuation methods . . . [We] have a high degree of certainty in what we have booked to date.” The check’s in the mail.
Six days earlier, PricewaterhouseCoopers, AIG’s outside auditor, delivered a private warning to Sullivan on the issues with its swaps and risk management, raising concerns with Sullivan, informing him they [PWC] believed AIG could have “a material weakness relating to the risk management of these areas.” AIG suddenly found itself “swept into a financial vortex, pulling out the ace card, its $85 billion handout from the US Treasury.”
This inspired these human failures so much that they took 70 of their “top performers (an oxymoron), plus “senior executives, to a luxurious California resort, courtesy of you, Mr. Taxpayer. Unbelievably, they racked up a $442,000 bill, including $200,000 for rooms, $150,000 for meals, $23,000 for spa treatments. How about drowning them all in hot tubs?
As to Marty, his golden parachute under his losing leadership was a cool $19 million, which included a $5 million performance bonus, a new contract with a $15 million parachute, after misleading shareholders on the stability of AIG’s finances. His parachute has since been frozen by AIG in an agreement with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who is presently investigating this scum for “unwarranted and outrageous” exec payouts after AIG pocketed billions in taxpayer rescue money.
Short call operations, Cooper reports, began on September 17 surrounding the $700 billion bailout op. “They waited patiently for all the bad news to be priced in . . . then pounced and rode the “dead cat bounce” for AIG call gains. End result: “a 100 percent gain as [they] closed 50 percent of [their] position . . . and then a 125 percent gain on the remaining 50 percent . . . all in under 12 days.” One man’s poison is another’s meat. And there my bond broker and I were, looking for 4 or 5 percent interest on anything decent. Schmucks are us.
Still think Geithner and Summers, Obama’s financial dynamic duo, are doing a great job? Still think they’re not all still bubbling in the financial hot tub? Well, read the whole of The Architects of Destruction and how you too, sucker, can get in on the action.
You’ll get the insider poop on the financial Hall of Shame: Angel Mozilo, former Countrywide Financial CEO and goombah; citizen James Cayne, former Bear Stearns CEO and world-class bridge player; the one and only dork, Dick Fuld, CEO Lehman Brothers, who fiddled as the 150 year-old company burned to the ground; Erin Callin, Lehman cheer-and-spin leader, and more; all of whom walked away with seven, eight and nine figure parachutes, even retirement funds like former chairman and CEO of Fannie Mae Franklin Raines’ $114,000 a month for life, plus health and life insurance benefits, deferred compensation of $8.7 million to be paid through 2020, and an attempted grab at an extra $600,000 salary, the last of which will probably be nixed.
There are tales of Chuck Prince, former CEO of Citi-Group, who left the bank with $11 billion in losses to be written off, on top of a $6.5 billion loss the previous quarter, and much more to come. He got a $100 million payment, and a pro-rata cash bonus of $12 million. Okay, so my stomach is turning by now and probably so is yours.
The Dow dived below 6700 Monday, setting a record for lows since 1997. Soon it will be setting lows since 1929 if we don’t get a handle on these mothers and wring their necks. No Mr. Nice Guy, Timmy, Larry, Barack, Pauly V., and company. You have to kick ass, and kick it hard, so hard they will never forget. Sic the IRS on them until they go to prison or die. Financial hardball, that’s what you have to play. Take the velvet gloves off, SEC, and put the brass knuckles on. You are dealing with criminals, all from The Sopranos’ central casting.
As to AIG, if you thought it could get any worse after Hammering Hank Greenberg left a couple of years ago with a slap on the wrist Spitzer fine of $1.6 billion for cooking the books, you’re wrong. It did get worse, and worse, and worse, just like the rest of the financial, banking, and credit industries. They are skeeves, as we used to call low-lifes in Brooklyn and as we call them today in Manhattan.
I’m waiting for the FSG, the financial system gulag, where we send all these bums to write their memoirs. Let me know if you have any ideas. How about one of those concentration camps Halliburton built for us sap citizens should we make a commotion while taking all this crap? By the way, let’s see if we can squeeze Dick, George, Donnie, Condie, and the whole gang in there and bug the hell out of the whole place, like the NSA does with us, just so we know what these freaks are conspiring to do next, because for these dudes enough is never enough.
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