Jury finds former AIG boss’s private firm did not breach trust

Maurice “Hank” Greenberg won his case against AIG when the jury decided his Starr International (Sico) did not breach a trust when it terminated a long-term compensation plan for AIG staff, the FT reports.

The jury's verdict, which came after four and half hours, is advisory and can still be overturned by Judge Jed Rakoff, who is expected to make a final decision by next month.

Liz Bowyer, spokeswoman for Sico, said the company was "gratified by the jury's verdict and the jurors' quick and complete rejection of the outrageous personal attacks on Greenberg's character by AIG and its counsel".

AIG said it was "disappointed'' by the verdict and would await the court's final ruling. "We continue to believe in the merits of our case," it said.

AIG case was “weak”

Dow Jones added that a female juror, who declined to give her name, said afterward that she believed the AIG case was "weak."

Reuters added that David Boies, the lawyer for Greenberg and Sico, said "the quickness of the (jury's) decision reflects the simplicity of the case. The trust AIG is alleging, no one had ever heard of or seen. No document mentioned it and I think the jury recognised that."

Sico’s case “well-documented”

Bloomberg added: “Sico’s case was very strong and well documented,” jury forewoman Karen Jaroneski, 45, said in an interview. “The AIG case was weak and unsubstantiated. AIG’s burden of proof was insurmountable.”

Another juror who wouldn’t identify herself said she found no evidence to support AIG’s claim that a trust was created solely for AIG. A third juror, who also requested anonymity, said Rakoff’s legal instructions on the creation of an oral trust left them no choice but to reject the insurer’s claims.

The panel of seven women and one man rejected arguments by AIG attorney Ted Wells that Greenberg lied repeatedly in testimony and that Sico fabricated documents.

Greenberg impressive

“I was very impressed by Hank Greenberg and his background,” said Jaroneski, a manager at a financial printing company. “He was very knowledgeable.”

Greenberg’s “testimony seemed a little disingenuous at times,” she said. When asked if she believed Greenberg’s account, Jaroneski said, “Some of it, not all of it.”

Why was he fired?

Jaroneski said jurors wanted to know the specifics of Greenberg’s termination in 2005, one of several subjects that Rakoff ruled was too prejudicial for the jury to hear. “I have such a limited scope of understanding about what happened in 2005 because it wasn’t relevant to the case that I don’t know if I could knowledgeably speak about it. We don’t know the specifics of why they fired him.”