Former American International Group Inc. chief executive Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg’s transfer of more than $2 billion worth of AIG shares to his wife probably would not survive a court challenge, legal experts said Wednesday.
Greenberg, who faces shareholder lawsuits and who has been questioned in a federal and state investigation into AIG accounting, disclosed in a regulatory filing on Tuesday that he gave his wife, Corinne P. Greenberg, 41.4 million AIG shares, most of his holdings in the company.
The transfer of stock worth about $2.1 billion, based on AIG’s closing price of $51.61 on Wednesday, occurred on March 11, three days before Greenberg stepped down as AIG’s chief executive. Legal experts said the gift appeared to be an effort to shield most of Greenberg’s fortune from possible attempts at recovery by the government or private lawsuits.
Through a spokesman, Greenberg declined to comment. A person close to him said the transfer was largely to protect against frivolous lawsuits and that Greenberg does not expect the shares to be out of the government’s reach if it sought to recover assets. Greenberg has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
The person said that by law Greenberg did not have to report the transfer to the SEC until February 2006. The person, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because of not being authorized to speak on the topic, said Greenberg executed the transfer in consultation with his estate-planning attorneys, not his criminal lawyers.