The latest chapter in the seemingly endless drama surrounding the plight of American International Group has the insurer pondering whether or not it wants to take action against Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street banks over soured mortgage assets.
AIG reportedly has been examining its mortgage debt pools and securities it previously purchased or insured for any indication that the structures were fraudulently created or sold by investment banks, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Journal goes on to note that no cases are imminent.
While the insurer has been scouring its books for some time, scrutiny has intensified now that the SEC last week put Goldman Sachs in its crosshairs with a civil fraud lawsuit for allegedly withholding information about a collateralized debt obligation (CDO), Abacus 2007-AC1. The SEC asserts that Goldman didn't tell investors that a hedge fund, which wanted to bet against the deal, had a hand in selecting mortgage assets that would determine how the CDO performed. The firm denies any wrongdoing.
In a separate matter, the Journal adds that a pair of Democratic Congressmen have urged the SEC to force Goldman to return funds it received from AIG if the insurer sold default protection based on fraudulent conduct by Goldman.
AIG previously insured seven Goldman-arranged Abacus CDOs that originally totaled $6 billion, the Journal reports, and AIG representatives are poring over the deals for any disclosure issues similar to what the SEC raised.
It is these Abacus deals that AIG is considering potential claims, Financial Times reported earlier today.
AIG and Goldman agreed last year to unwind most of these contracts, which led AIG to realize a loss of about $2 billion. AIG still insures approximately $1.3 billion in Abacus deals.