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Court To AIG And Greenberg: Hands Off Documents

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has taken legal action to protect information that officials believe may be relevant to the SEC investigation of American International Group Inc.[@@]

The SEC said Thursday that it had obtained a court order to prevent AIG, New York, and AIG’s former boss, Maurice Greenberg, from interfering with documents the SEC wants for its accounting probe of AIG.

Also named in the order, obtained from the U.S. District Court in New York, is Bermuda-based C.V. Starr & Company Inc., a private insurer that, according to a past finding by New York regulators, is the ultimate parent of AIG. Greenberg, who was replaced last month as chairman and chief executive officer of AIG, heads C.V. Starr.

Earlier this week, AIG’s current executives reported concerns about the possibility of documents being removed from AIG offices in Bermuda that AIG has been sharing with C.V. Starr.

The court order prohibits the parties named from interfering with the ability of the SEC to obtain “any and all documents in the respondents’ possession or control.”

The order also provides a procedure for documents outside the United States to be secured, brought to the United States, and presented to the commission and the New York attorney general.

“We sought this order in response to reports of the movement of documents subject to this investigation,” says Mark Schonfeld, the director of the SEC’s Northeast regional office. “This order will ensure the security and integrity of documents is preserved and that relevant evidence will be available in our ongoing investigation.”

The SEC says its staff issued subpoenas to Greenberg, AIG, C.V. Starr and to Starr International Company Inc. between March 25 and April 1.

The SEC is looking into the possibility that AIG may have used finite insurance deals or other arrangements to improve its financial picture in ways that were not adequately disclosed.


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