American International Group Inc. (AIG) says it has moved a step closer toward being able to repay the federal government for help received during the recent credit market crisis.

MetLife Inc., New York (NYSE:MET), has given AIG, New York (NYSE:AIG), permission to sell the MetLife securities that AIG acquired when it sold American Life Insurance Company.(ALICO) to MetLife.

MetLife bought ALICO for $7.2 billion in cash and $9 billion in stock in November 2010.

AIG emerged with about 78 million shares of MetLife common stock; shares of MetLife preferred stock that are equivalent to about 69 million shares of MetLife common stock; and MetLife equity units with a value of $3 billion that can be converted into about 68 million shares of MetLife common stock.

AIG sold the 78 million shares of MetLife common stock to the public, and MetLife sold about 69 million of its own shares of its own common stock to the public.

AIG also offered 40 million MetLife common equity units.

The transactions raised about $6.3 billion. AIG says it will use the cash to speed up the process of paying the U.S. Treasury Department for the department’s stake in an AIG special purpose vehicle that held the MetLife securities.

AIG also will use the stock sale proceeds to reduce what it owes the Treasury Department on the department’s stake in a special purpose vehicle that holds AIG’s remaining interests in AIA Group Ltd.

AIG sold a 67% interest in AIA to the public through a public stock offering in late 2010.

AIG accepted aid from the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York starting in late 2008, after it found that credit default swaps it sold proved to be much riskier than it had expected and exposed it to collateral demands it could not afford to meet.

MetLife says it will use the proceeds from its stock offering to buy back and cancel the 6.9 million shares of contingent convertible preferred stock owned by AIG.