It looks like the U.S. government won’t be calling ex-AIG CEO Maurice “Hank” Greenberg to testify in his $25 billion-plus lawsuit over federal bailout funds the insurance giant was forced to take during the 2008 financial crisis.
Greenberg, who remains an American International Group shareholder, and others are suing the federal government, alleging the forced $85 billion bailout after a liquidity crisis harmed shareholders and was unnecessary.
Various media reports suggested that the government would call Greenberg to testify. That may no longer be the case. Fox Business is reporting that officials chose to avoid calling Greenberg. Sources told Fox that the Justice Department attorneys were worried his testimony would backfire, giving him a venue at which he could explain how private action could have solved AIG’s liquidity crisis that precipitated the federal bailout.
A win in the lawsuit from Greenberg and some of his fellow shareholders isn’t a sure thing. Bloomberg reported earlier in the month that his odds have increased, however, thanks, in part, to some evidentiary rulings in favor of attorney David Boies, who is representing Greenberg and the other shareholders.
A Greenberg win could be bad news for the government. As Bloomberg noted, a ruling that the Federal Reserve’s bailout was illegal could restrict government options when an economic crisis hits in the future.