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Commentary Last Updated: Jan 4th, 2007 - 01:08:31

Answering the mail re: Greenberg & AIG
By Jerry Mazza
Online Journal Associate Editor

Oct 9, 2006, 01:35

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Among many positive emails I received for my Online Journal article 9/11 and the Greenberg Familia, I received one nasty, even threatening one. �Mr. Mazza,� it read, �I am a former employee of AIG, so I can speak my mind on your essay . . . You have lied and slandered Hank Greenberg, AIG and others.� Well, Mr. Smith, I beg to disagree.

Perhaps you haven�t seen AIG�s or Greenberg�s rap sheet, including the latest Eliot Spitzer suit filed last May, for civil fraud charges. They are described in Time as �accusing Greenberg of orchestrating �sham transactions� that hid losses and inflated AIG�s net worth. Just last week he resigned from AIG�s board, ending his last official tie to the company -- the same week two executives at General Re, a unit of Warren Buffett�s Berkshire Hathaway that did business with AIG, pleaded guilty to civil fraud charges that name Greenberg as a co-conspirator.�

That�s just for starters. But let me address your numbered points, Mr. Smith . . .

�(1) AIG does [did] not own Marsh or Kroll, Inc.�

The truth is AIG owned a controlling interest in both firms from 1993-2004 when Kroll was sold to Marsh McClellan. It was announced in January 2005 that Marsh was forced to pay $850 million in fines to policyholders for steering clients to insurers from which it received lucrative payoffs. The apple did not fall far from the tree. Mr. Smith, your next point . . .

(2) �ACE, Ltd. has always been located at 120 Broadway and not 7 WTC.�

It�s a fact that Eliot Spitzer�s offices are located at 120 Broadway. But it is difficult to trace exactly where ACE can or will be, given the number of fractioned companies and addresses under the ACE name. Actually ACE Ltd per se is a property and casualty insurer based in Hamilton, Bermuda, for tax reasons, and is part of the AIG cartel. Its CEO was Evan Greenberg at the time of 9/11, son of Maurice Greenberg. ACE Ltd had part of the reinsurance of the World Trade Center.

ACE Ltd and XL Ltd (another big insurance company entity in Bermuda) respectively agreed to pay $298 million and $67 million, a total of $365 million to settle all of Silverstein Properties� claims. �The settlement is based upon a single occurrence and therefore will comprise payment of only one policy limit,� said the ACE bulletin.

In other words, the AIG reinsurance entity and the other had the foresight to include a clause that defined an �occurrence to mean all losses attributable directly or indirectly to �one cause or to one series of similar causes.�� So they made one payment only, not double as Larry had asked, some part of which other insurers provided. Mr. Smith goes on . . .

�(3) Hank Greenberg is NOT the cousin of Alan, �Ace� Greenberg.�

Says who? Hank is 81, �Ace� is 79. Hank grew up in rural New York, �Ace� in rural Wichita. Both worked their way to Wall Street and became titans: Hank the AIG Mogul, �Ace� [curious how it echoes the AIG company ACE] Greenberg became Chairman of the Executive Committee of Bear Stearns, New York, the powerhouse investment firm of Bush Familia and friends. Also, noted whistleblower Al Martin has claimed �Ace� to be Maurice�s cousin. Back to you, Mr. Smith . . .

�(4) AIG was NOT the main insurer of the WTC. Chubb, Zurich Swiss re., St Paul and CAN were.�

Ah yes, Mr. Smith, but only because AIG/Marsh sold the risk and reinsurance to their competition. Take a look at pages 5-6 from the 30-page Morgan Stanley Special Report on 9/11 (September 17, 2001), that proves Buffett et al stood to gain . . .

�We aren�t sure yet exactly where the cutoff is for the �largest reinsurers.� There is no question that Berkshire Hathaway, Swiss Re and Munich Re fall into this category . . .

A simple example. We estimate that Berkshire Hathaway and General Re combined will write around $12 billion in nonlife reinsurance premiums in 2001 and $2 billion in life/health insurance. We also estimate Berkshire�s probably largest loss from this event [9/11] at around $1.5 billion or roughly 11 percent of premiums. Looked at very simply therefore, a price increase of 11 percent on unchanged volume would recoup Berkshire�s entire loss from the World Trade Center.

�We expect Berkshire�s volume to increase significantly -- probably more than 25 percent. We expect rates to rise considerably more than 11 percent. Without trying to be overly precise, therefore, it�s clear that the largest reinsurers should fare better as the flight to quality steers customers back to reinsurers who can, without question, pay claims.�

Bottom line, the actuarial anomaly of 9/11 would allow prices (and premiums) to soar exponentially, so there would be huge profit in the disaster. In fact, Mr. Hank Greenberg himself reflected these statements in an October 10, 2001, New York Times article, Insurance Prices Soaring, A.I.G. Chief Says . . .  Mr. Greenberg said, and I quote, �that insurance prices were rising �by leaps and bounds� in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

�Mr. Greenberg, whose company is one of the world�s largest insurers, said that prices for some kinds of commercial insurance were doubling, up from expected increases of 20 percent to 60 percent as the industry emerged from a long period of cutthroat pricing. . . .

�Even [after losses of $800 million] A.I.G. would turn a profit of several hundred million dollars for the quarter.� He also said that "the company�s earnings would pick up to their historic pattern of more than 20 percent annual growth." In what seems like sanguineous, if not obscene enthusiasm, he said, �The opportunities for us are enormous.� He added, �It�s a global opportunity. It�s not just in the United States, but rates are rising throughout the world. So our business looks quite good going forward.�

Eureka for destruction! In still another place, he gloats: � . . . there is no shortage of business to write and we�re going to do everything we can to write it.� And: �We�ve always been opportunistic. When see we opportunities, we will never change. At A.I.G., it�s part of our culture.� Indeed, all a matter of numbers like the 2,900 or so people that died that day.

Returning to Mr. Smith, he next suggests . . .

�(5) Greenberg is NOT related to the Greenberg of Greenberg Traurig.�

Perhaps. Again, noted author and whistleblower Al Martin reports that he is. And, that after creating the company, Hank let it go independent. Also, in an exhaustive web search for �who founded Greenberg Traurig� the best I could get was Mel Greenberg in 1967. When I clicked on Mel Greenberg (try it), I got a blank. Yet 1967-68 was about the time Maurice Greenberg took over AIG. So an endeavor like that would be possible. Plus there was a Colombian branch of the Greenberg family that immigrated to southern Miami in the 1980s. They got into real estate big time, with Hank insuring their properties at cut rates.

Also, Greenberg Traurig is the fourth largest lawyering firm in America, eighth largest in the world. Yet no one wants to post a bio and take a bow for founding it in 1967? �Ace� Greenberg certainly wants to take a bow for his achievements over at Bear Stearns.

Sorry, Mr. Smith, I don�t buy it. I�ll stick with Al Martin�s take on Greenberg Traurig. Next poke . . .

�(6) WTC 7 was rebuilt first because it was a privately owned building and NOT part of the WTC which was owned by the NYC/NJ Port Authority.�

Well, yes, but. But Silverstein has owned WTC 7 since 1985. And he works for the Rockefeller Trust, who built and controls the Port Authority, and who conceived of the WTC. I mean, they all are closely related. And WTC 7 was just across narrow Vesey Street from the WTC. It was the one that was �pulled,� you remember that, right? Next complaint . . .

�(7) Greenberg was NOT the person at the CFR [Council on Foreign Relations Meeting] who confronted the Iranian persain [his spelling] monkey who spoke to the CFR last week.�

Ah, so you were there? Because The New York Times was there and David E. Sanger reported the Iranian president said ''I think we should allow more impartial studies to be done on this [the Holocaust] after hearing an account of an 81-year-old member, the insurance mogul Maurice R. Greenberg, who saw the Dachau concentration camp as Germany fell . . ." Who�s kidding whom, Mr. Smith? Mr. Greenberg or his twin was there.

Also, Mr. Greenberg should remember it wasn�t Iran or any Muslim nation that committed the horrific Holocaust. It was Germany and some American boosters like Prescott Bush (G.W.'s grandpa), Thomas Watson, the head of IBM, and Henry Ford. Not to mention Axis members Italy and Japan.

Now here comes a biggie, admittedly a story unto itself. Mr. Smith claims,

�(8) AIG does not smuggle drugs.�

Mr. Smith, I recommend that you read this report by the consummate drug-writer/researcher, Michael Ruppert on A.I.G. and it�s involvement with drugs. Here�s a sampling of quotes . . .

�FTW [From the Wilderness] moves deeper into its multi-part investigation - inspired by revelations of possible 1987-92 drug money laundering involving AIG, Goldman Sachs and the Arkansas Development Financial Authority (ADFA) - attention now focuses on Talavera's employer, AIG. These events increased my interest in the 1987 founding of Coral Reinsurance (Coral Re) by AIG, Goldman Sachs (whose then Vice Chairman Robert Rubin served as Treasury Secretary in the Clinton Administration) and ADFA. Lehder, arrested in 1987, was allowed to keep almost $3 billion in assets in a move severely criticized by Merkle. Where did that money go? Was it hidden it in a major insurance company with cash flows large enough to conceal it? This question, more than any other, except establishing Lehder's current status, prompted me to begin this investigation.�

And . . ."FTW has also conducted an extensive investigation into AIG and its predecessors, including the C. V. Starr Insurance Companies, revealing deep connections to US intelligence dating back to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in World War II. These connections include documented CIA operatives connected to drug smuggling from Southeast Asia and a current board member, Frank Wisner, Jr., whose father was a key figure in the creation of the CIA. History, as well as AIG's current operations, suggest that these relationships continue unabated today . . ."

And another . . ."AIG has also been connected, albeit indirectly, to a major money laundering case. As the insurance carrier for the Bank of New York (BoNY) they are defending BoNY in a suit filed this year by BoNY shareholders charging mismanagement of the bank. That suit arose from revelations (See FTW Vol II, No.7, 9/99) in the major media that BoNY had been involved in laundering between $7 and $10 billion in criminal money out of Russia during the 1990s under its Chairman, Thomas Renyi. A credible source has told me, but I have not been able to confirm it, that AIG also insures the U.S. Department of Justice which was charged with investigating BoNY and which decided not to file criminal charges in 1999.�

And on and on. Read Ruppert�s amazing article in its entirety, Mr. Smith, and everyone else's. It�s a great place to start with what amounts to an entire body of literature on AIG and drugs, smuggling, money-laundering, et al. Yet Mr. Smith now threatens me . . .

�You have intentionally lied. I might very well forward your slanderous article to the persons and companies you have slandered.�

Well, you do that, Mr. Smith. You do that. And be prepared to repeat your disclaimer . . .

�For the record, I have NEVER met Hank Greenberg, his family, Alan Greenberg, Larry Silverstein or any other people you have mentioned. I have never been part of any AIG circle.�

Sounds like a DC lawyer, trying to cover his butt. But you used to work for them, right, Mr. Smith? That�s what you said. That�s a circle. But let me supply you with a quote from whistleblower Richard Grove, concerning his SilverStream work for AIG and their chief and group . . .

�I have met hammerin� hank, been in his offices, met with his people, helped implement new software created specifically for AIG/Marsh to do these laundering transactions (search: Silver/Stream ACORD and you�ll see we won an award for being the company who first connected Marsh/AIG).� Just click the underlined words, Mr. Smith, for illumination.

And lastly, regarding your remark, �You need psychiatric help. You�re a pathetic individual . . ." I believe that description more aptly fits your sorry self and friends, including your closing remarks. Recognize these?

�Oh and your comment out [about] the Greenberg �familia,� geez coming for someone named Mazza. As Jews would say, that�s Chutzpah.�

Excuse me, Mr. Smith. Who brought �Jews� into this, besides you? That�s chutzpah. The Italian word �Familia� was used to denote a crime family, a Mafia, organized criminality, which is what this is. That�s irony. In fact, you�re probably better off not working for AIG any more. You could end up in jail. Even for attempting to intimidate a journalist.

Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York. Reach him at

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