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American International Group, which just months ago took a $170 billion bailout from American taxpayers, is about to give executives "in its most troubled business unit" $165 million in bonuses. Just weeks ago, AIG announced a fourth quarter loss of $61.7 billion -- the largest by any corporation in history.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is obviously a little peeved about the bonuses (part of a larger, $450 million payout,) but doesn't believe the government can legally block them. He has reportedly telephoned AIG Chairman Edward Liddy to demand the company renegotiate its bonus system.

Liddy wrote back to inform the Secretary that attorneys had informed AIG that it would be facing lawsuits if it didn't make the bonus payments, but admitted the payments "distasteful and difficult" to make.

The kicker? The bonus agreements were made in early 2008, a time when pretty much everybody on the planet knew AIG was headed for trouble.



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