Ex-CEO Greenberg defends reputation during AIG trial
September 28, 2016 by Kevin Dugan
In a packed Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday, Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, a veteran of World War II and 36 years as chief executive of insurance giant AIG, faced one final mission: rescuing his reputation.
Greenberg, 91, took the witness stand to personally turn aside allegations from the state that he engineered two sham insurance transactions between 2000 and 2003 that fooled shareholders into believing AIG’s financial condition was better than it actually was.
The testimony, which comes 4,143 days after then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer charged Greenberg and former AIG Chief Financial Officer Howard Smith with making the deceptive deals, is expected to spread over several days.
ssistant Attorney General David Nachman bore into Greenberg first about smaller matters leading up to the deals at the heart of the case — hoping to show the court that the former CEO was a jet-setting billionaire with a ruthless drive for profit and a micromanager of epic proportions who received weekly reports on relatively minor parts of his business.
Of the smaller matters, Greenberg told the court they were “a small part of our business” and that the deal “only added a half a point” to the company’s capital losses
“I was trying to teach a lesson to some managers,” said Greenberg, sitting in the witness stand, his roughly 5-foot-4 frame dwarfed by a stack of four huge binders and a copy of his 2013 book, “The AIG Story.”
Among the observers in Justice Charles Ramos’ courtroom was Greenberg pal Ken Langone, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot, who sat in the front row surrounded by the insurance mogul’s lawyers.