Ex-AIG Chief Greenberg Sues Eliot Spitzer for Defamation

Former American International Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Maurice “Hank” Greenberg sued Eliot Spitzer, accusing the onetime New York governor of making false and defamatory statements as part of a campaign to damage his reputation.

Greenberg, 88, sued Spitzer, 54, who is running for New York City comptroller, in New York State Supreme Court in Putnam County on July 12 seeking unspecified damages for statements Spitzer made last year in the New York Law Journal and on the CNBC and Current TV cable networks accusing him of fraud.

The statements “are part of a long-standing malicious campaign by Mr. Spitzer, through the publication of false and defamatory statements, to discredit Mr. Greenberg and damage Mr. Greenberg’s reputation and career, while attempting to bolster Mr. Spitzer’s own reputation and career,” Greenberg said in his complaint.

The Court of Appeals in Albany, the state’s highest court, last month ruled that Greenberg must face a fraud suit Spitzer brought when he was attorney general in 2005. Greenberg had argued the suit was fatally flawed by court approval of a $115 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit that resolved claims against him and former AIG Chief Financial Officer Howard Smith.

Eric Schneiderman, who took over the case when he became attorney general, contends that Greenberg and Smith bear responsibility for the transaction with General Reinsurance Corp. in 2000 and 2001 that inflated AIG’s loss reserves by $500 million.

In a phone interview, Spitzer declined to comment on the defamation case.

The case is Greenberg v. Spitzer, 1436/2013, New York State Supreme Court, Putnam County.

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