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Ex-AIG Chief Greenberg On Bonuses

(CBS)

The federal government has already committed nearly $180 billion to prop up American International Group, even as the company pays out huge bonuses to employees and ex-employees.

But what Congress and the American people most want to know is: Who's responsible for ruining AIG in the first place?

Yesterday, government appointed CEO Edward Liddy blamed his predecessors.

Before Liddy, there had only been three CEOs.

Hank Greenberg ran the company for 37 years until he was ousted amid a New York state investigation into its accounting practices. Michael Sullivan and Robert Willumstad followed, and it was during their terms that AIG's investments went bad.

But the division that took the losses had been created by Greenberg.

CBS News correspondent Maggie Rodriguez spoke with him today:

Rodriguez: If you were still CEO, would you have paid out the bonuses?

Greenberg: Absolutely not

Rodriguez: What would your logic have been?

Greenberg: Well, very simple. If they had lost money, you would hardly say, "Ok we're sorry, and we'll give you now a bonus."

Rodriguez: Did you not have retention bonuses when you were there?

Greenberg: No. No. When I was there, nobody had a contract in the company, including me. Nobody had a contract. Didn't believe in 'em. If you didn't do the job, you didn't deserve to be there. There were no contracts.

Rodriguez: No contracts? No guaranteed bonuses?

Greenberg: No. never. We had a bonus plan based on performance. If you didn't perform, there were no bonuses.