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Starr to appeal denial of AIG shareholder compensation in bailout

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Starr International Co. Inc. said last Tuesday that it will appeal a federal judge's decision that although the Federal Reserve acted illegally in requiring American International Group Inc. to transfer about 80% of its equity to the government for 2008 financial assistance, the government is not required to monetarily compensate shareholders including former AIG leader Maurice R. Greenberg.

The shareholders, led by Mr. Greenberg, now Starr International's top executive, sued the federal government in the Washington-based U.S. Court of Federal Claims, alleging that the Fed acted illegally in requiring the insurer to surrender nearly 80% of its equity in return for an initial $85 billion federal financial guarantee as AIG neared collapse in September 2008.

Federal assistance to AIG ultimately reached more than $180 billion, all of which AIG repaid plus providing a profit of nearly $23 billion to the government.

Federal Judge Thomas Wheeler ruled last Monday that the government indeed acted illegally, but also said the shareholders were due no monetary compensation.

“The question at trial was whether the government could demand the shareholders'' equity as a condition of that loan,” Starr said last Tuesday in a statement. “The court properly held it could not.”

“Plaintiffs will appeal the ruling that there is no remedy for the government's illegal conduct, and ask the Court of Appeals to confirm that the government is not entitled to keep billions dollars of citizens' money in its pocket,” Starr said in the statement.