AIG FP Chief: Taxpayer Ire Over Bonuses “Probably Hurt Taxpayers”

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April 13, 2009 7:25 a.m.

Last month AIG Financial Products head Gerry “Che” Pasciucco met with employees of the unit that took down the economy, and relayed a request from upper management that they return those controversial “retention bonuses,” adding that he felt the request was tantamount to blackmail. But he was only thinking of us taxpayers, he tells today’s Wall Street Journal, in a story that says 20 AIG FP employees — not including the unashamed bonus keeper Jake DeSantis, who published his resignation letter in the New York Times — had quit amid the controversy:

Mr. Pasciucco said that as a result of the bonus controversy, some employees’ children were harassed, and some had clubs ask them to resign. “It doesn’t surprise me that some senior people said, ‘You know what, I’ve had enough,’ ” he said…Mr. Pasciucco says the controversy “hurt morale” and “stunned people such that our wind-down has slowed down.” He added, “Taxpayers probably have been damaged.”

But will we ever know how much we’ve been damaged? A Financial Times story about AIG FP’s decision to “opt out” of a new International Swaps & Derivatives Association protocol signed by 2,000 derivatives market participant intended to to make the complex credit default swap business less “opaque” casts more doubt on that:

AIG Financial Products opted to eschew the protocol and make bilateral agreements with counterparties on more than 200 outstanding derivatives trades.

People close to the situation said the highly complex nature of many of AIG FP’s trades, particularly the credit default swaps on mortgage-backed securities, made it easier to negotiate with individual counterparties rather than adopt a catch-all protocol.

Easier, or less embarrassing?

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