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AIG Hires Ex-IRS Deputy Counsel Potter to Protect Tax Assets

American International Group Inc., the bailed-out insurer, hired Clarissa Potter, former deputy chief counsel of the Internal Revenue Service, to help protect tax assets accumulated by the firm.

Potter will be deputy tax director, reporting to Tal Kaissar, director of tax, the insurer said today in a statement.

Losses at New York-based AIG and its subsidiaries helped rack up more than $25 billion of so-called deferred tax assets as of Dec. 31 that may lower obligations to governments. Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche, 67, said last month the insurer is assembling a “world-class team” to manage the assets and that they may be used for buybacks when AIG is prepared to repurchase stock.

“The complexity of AIG’s global structure requires a holistic approach to compliance with domestic and international tax law,” Kaissar said in the statement. Potter’s “first-hand understanding of tax policy makes her uniquely positioned to help AIG in this regard.”

Analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Barclays Plc have said AIG’s tax benefit may be worth at least $5 a share. The company, which is majority owned by the U.S. Treasury Department, dropped $1.65, or 6.7 percent, to $22.95 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

Potter was previously an associate professor at Georgetown University Law Center and had worked at the Treasury, Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. She holds a law degree from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree from Miami University of Ohio, according to the statement.

The insurer has turned to the public sector for other managers including Brian Peters, a former Federal Reserve Bank of New York employee. Peters joined AIG as a senior managing director in the enterprise risk management group this year. The Fed first rescued AIG in September 2008 and was fully repaid in January of this year.

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