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Audit Faults Timothy Geithner and the New York Fed in A.I.G. Bailout

Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, November 17, 2009

"The Federal Reserve Bank of New York gave up much of its power in high-pressure negotiations with the American International Group's trading partners last year, according to a government report made public on Monday....

"The New York Fed, led then by Timothy F. Geithner, who is now the Treasury secretary, therefore had little leverage in the negotiations, according to a post-mortem of what has emerged as the most inflammatory episode in the rescue of A.I.G.

"The Fed 'refused to use its considerable leverage,' Neil M. Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, wrote in a report to be officially released on Tuesday, examining the much-criticized decision to make A.I.G.'s trading partners whole when people and businesses were taking painful losses in the financial markets.

"There have been suggestions that the Fed chose to negotiate weakly, Mr. Barofsky said, to give a 'backdoor bailout' to A.I.G.’s banks. He said Mr. Geithner and the Fed’s lawyers had denied this, but added that 'irrespective of their stated intent,' there was no doubt about the result: 'Tens of billions of dollars of government money was funneled inexorably and directly to A.I.G.'s counterparties.'"


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