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Geithner: Government to Profit from AIG Bailout

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Perhaps the government's 2008 bailout of American International Group Inc. has a silver lining. Appearing before the Congressional Oversight Panel yesterday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testified that the federal government will profit from the assistance it granted to AIG.

Despite only passing references to the insurer, Geithner testified that "investment programs" by the government will show a "positive return."

Geithner appeared before Congress to discuss issues related to the government's response to the financial crisis, specifically focusing on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

According to Geithner's written testimony, the restructuring of AIG's repayment plan agreement "will accelerate the government’s exit on terms that are likely to lead to an overall profit on the government’s support for AIG, including the value of Treasury’s interests in AIG held outside of TARP.”

Last week, publicized its plan to repay the Federal Reserve and establish a recapitalization game plan that will cut its tether to government assistance for good.

"Our filing today that we have signed the definitive recapitalization agreement with the government marks an important step forward in our progress toward completely repaying taxpayers," AIG said last week in a statement. "We remain committed to executing the steps and meeting all conditions in the agreement as soon as possible."

According to Bloomberg reports last week, AIG CEO Robert Benmosche wants to rid the company of its debt to the government, which ballooned to $182.3 billion last year. He reportedly will use proceeds from the sales of two non-U.S. life insurers to close a Fed credit line. Further, said Bloomberg, Benmosche is counting on profits at AIG's global property/casualty coverage and U.S. life units to entice private investors to replace the equity capital provided by the Treasury Department.

AIG has seen a number of highs and lows since its acceptance of TARP funds in 2008. The company has advanced about 54% this year after falling 4.5% in 2009 and plunging 97% in 2008, according to reports.

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