Top executives at American International Group Inc. have agreed to give back their bonuses, according to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
So far, nine of the top 10 bonus recipients at AIG (NYSE: AIG) have agreed to return their bonus money, and 15 of the top 20 executives on the bonus list will repay the money. Cuomo said the money being returned represents about $50 million of the total $165 million bonus pool.
He added that 47 percent of the bonus money went to Americans, representing about $80 million.
“I would like to say this to the individuals who have given the money back — You have done the right thing. You have done what this country now needs and demands,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We are living in a new era of corporate and individual responsibility.”
The payment of the bonuses set off an uproar in Congress and across the country, as many politicians expressed outrage that the AIG employees were given bonuses that went as high as $6.4 million, with 73 of the executives being paid at least $1 million.
The more than 400 employees given the bonuses worked in AIG’s financial products division, which is viewed as playing a large role in the company’s fiscal crisis. To-date, the company has received about $170 billion in federal bailout funds.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to tax the bonuses at 90 percent in a move to recover the money, but that bill is expected to die in the Senate due to resistance in that chamber and from the White House.