White House: AIG sale shows "commitment to recover taxpayer money"

WASHINGTON Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:57pm BST

Raindrops are seen on an AIG logo at the AIG Building in Tokyo February 27, 2009. REUTERS/Michael Caronna

Raindrops are seen on an AIG logo at the AIG Building in Tokyo February 27, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Michael Caronna

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury's announcement that it is selling $18 billion (11.2 billion pounds) of shares in American International Group (AIG.N) demonstrates a commitment to recover taxpayer money, the White House said on Monday.

"We have been committed to exiting those investments as quickly as practicable," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a press briefing. "What it does demonstrate is an ongoing commitment to recover taxpayer money.

"It's safe to say the president is pleased with the progress being made as we wind down these investments," he added.

The Treasury Department and Federal Reserve extended a combined $182 billion lifeline to AIG at the peak of the financial crisis, after the insurer became entangled in subprime-mortgage derivatives.

The sale of AIG stock brings the government's stake in the insurer to 20 percent, down from 53 percent. AIG still owes U.S. taxpayers $23.3 billion, according to a tally by ProPublica.

(This story was refiled to add dropped punctuation in the headline)

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert, Margaret Chadbourn, Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Sandra Maler and Dan Grebler)

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