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He spent nearly forty years running insurance giant AIG -- now Hank Greenberg is sharing his story and in new tell all book.
He joins our senior correspondent Charlie Gasparino now.
Thanks for being here -- because rattle off some of the accomplishment I mean you know.
I've been I've known for years big fan entrepreneur war CEO be edging -- world's largest insurance -- largest company for a time.
Could work out fanatic.
I did not work -- with you Eliot Spitzer nemesis that's a good point your favor.
CEO of star international right now and also.
Do author of -- new book about AIG congratulations -- -- longtime incumbent it was seven years I think I remember distorted thinking about this.
The IG story it started essentially.
Because you were ousted forced out of AIG I believe unfairly by Eliot Spitzer over sort of mundane accounting issues.
And then after that the company essentially blew up over very big issues how much of this do you get into.
In the book.
Quite a bit.
The book has two parts.
-- the first well as the building of AIG that's the reason.
I Rooney wrote the book because there -- so many thousands of people.
Who helped build AIG.
Was important to be told.
You know it was it was a national asset.
AIG was a very important company to the country.
We were -- a 137.
Countries right we have rated.
If throughout the world and up to do with the risk taking that eventually blew it up to win when you weren't there nothing did nothing to do that real.
And you know we were we had a 180 billion market cap would have left the company.
-- started out with 300 million.
You know -- one of the great stories.
Of the century.
And the second part of the book is what happened.
The disgraced attorney general right.
And what happened to corporate governance.
After Enron right -- change to change the -- really.
The room the regulatory environment in the legal environment.
And regulatory things after Enron.
Change corporate America what all of boys became more concerned about themselves right rather than -- An image of someone like Spitzer said -- you made a couple mistakes here.
And here's a guy that was clearly looking for scalps I mean no question about it I mean is pretty obvious we know now in retrospect at the time he's very powerful.
One of those scalps what was as you obviously he forced the board took -- to to you know push you out.
What was fascinating from that point -- 2005.
The company did not do very well after that even though was still it wasn't insolvent at the time but that it became insolvent and now as you know.
You said it was a national asset it is now it was it's essentially owned by the US government.
It didn't become insolvent did have a liquidity problem not a -- -- them.
And -- -- capital.
They just didn't know what you're doing so the government took it over which is party a lawsuit right now yeah ask you about that.
I'm lot of people criticized you about suing the government for taken over educating it's a necessary evil.
Don't in the middle of -- they had to do it fast you know who was in perfect.
You say -- you say it's unconstitutional.
Cram down the existing shareholders like yourself when they didn't have to do that they could've done it in a different -- how how so.
Oh yeah look.
They could've made the the Fed window open for AIG you know the Fed window was open.
To the Arab Bank which was 29%.
Owned by the Libyan Central Bank -- think about that they.
Open the Fed would go to them not to let that -- But AIG didn't have to think except.
That kind of a bail out the one.
The so called CDOs that they were insured right this is well after -- leave the company's three -- four years later.
They could have refused.
The put up collateral because what was given them was not what they were told -- life.
Good is -- those suing them -- I -- now we're in 2013.
You're doing pretty well you're running a pretty good company.
You know they demo -- that robber pay much it -- you know.
Due to the -- a decent job as far as -- concerned.
Well he picked up a bad hand right.
But he's it's coming -- get things running yeah what does it what what do you get from -- -- to make one point.
Yes sure look at thousands.
Of shareholders lost their net worth right pension funds to us.
Billions of dollars.
And all the -- weren't out right it took us a long time to get all the factual the nuances.
Of what occurred.
And of course what was done that we have a constitutional.
Have a constitution that says unlawful taking by the government you know is prohibited.
In the and you have put out those facts in your book would give.
We're getting kind of the wrap here but I want to ask you something when you look at the problems of AIG.
-- comes back to two things I really do believe you leaving was approximately.
One guy that kinda knew everything was -- The other problem was the guy that forced -- to -- Eliot Spitzer you've made no bones about any feelings towards mr.
His suit against you it's largely evaporated it's nowhere to be found I mean it's it's it's meaningless at this point.
The question though that I had -- At every bar as we know -- Spitzer.
Blew up in you know in a prostitution scandal -- -- -- I get asked in every book because they know I know you may know -- like they say.
You know what do you think -- did it I believe is what people say they believe that Hank Greenberg set up Eliot Spitzer or at least not set up.
Blew the whistle on him.
It's urban legend but you could put it to rest right now -- you the guy the blue was.
No none at all in the -- do with do you think anybody anybody on Wall Street -- no I don't think so I think you -- -- up.
He just he blew himself up he violated the law apart from a -- moving money improperly.
And and then -- this is dealing with the prostitutes.
He blew himself up.
Right and he got caught that he got caught him OK well.
If you if he did global asylum I wouldn't -- -- still shake your hand he's still he's still it's can still work out by the way I I shook -- and coming in.
The grip is still like it lists back back in 2007 when I did work I would -- once.
And it's a pleasure to see again and good good audio is good she's okay.
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