The financial crisis of the late aughts shook the foundations of our economic structure and left both corporations and citizens hoping for a brighter future. But as we begin to put the collapse behind us, the dust isn’t the only thing settling. On Aug 4 insurance giant AIG announced that it would settle a shareholder suit filed in 2008 for $960 million. The figure is one the largest amounts ever agreed to in addressing investor litigation.
The settlement will end several class action complaints filed by investors who allege that AIG intentionally misrepresented the health of the company in press releases and filings on the run up to their government-backed bail out. Investors say that AIG hid its sub-prime mortgage exposure, a move that eventually resulted in its near collapse.
Included in that group of investors were pensions held by those in the state of Michigan. According to the Financial Times, Michigan has said that it “suffered tens of billions of dollars of losses, at the least, based on false and materially misleading statements that AIG, certain of its executives, directors, underwriters and outside auditor made concerning the company’s financial results, business operations and condition.”
An AIG spokesman said, "The resolution of this and other legacy financial-crisis-related matters better enables us to focus on AIG's future."
AIG itself has recently been on the plaintiff’s side of cases involving the loss of money due to subprime mortgage issues. In July, Bank of America agreed to pay AIG $650 million to resolve accusations that it misleadingly packaged mortgages that caused the financial meltdown.
While shareholder stocks are a different animal entirely, AIG’s settlement is the latest in a string of payouts related to the sale of mortgage-backed securities. On July 24, Morgan Stanley agreed to pay $275 million to settle allegations it misled investors in two separate mortgage bonds and on July 14 Citigroup agreed to settle with the Department of Justice for $7 billion to end multiple state and federal lawsuits concerning the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities.