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Ex-AIG exec: Risky investments tripled

A former top executive of American International Group, Inc. has acknowledged that his division more than tripled the amount of risky investments it insured in the three years leading up to the 2008 financial meltdown.

But Joseph Cassano, chief executive for AIG’s financial products division, rebuffed accusations from a special panel investigating the crisis that he relaxed standards to issue more credit default swaps.

AIG received a $182 billion taxpayer bailout - the biggest of the federal rescues - after it nearly collapsed and helped trigger the financial crisis.

In his first public comments since the crisis, Mr. Cassano told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a bipartisan panel created by Congress, that the company never diluted its underwriting standards “at any point in time.”


Obama to sign Iran sanctions

President Obama will sign a sweeping package of tough new energy and financial sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program on Thursday, the White House said.

Mr. Obama will sign the bill at 6:15 p.m. at the White House, his press secretary said.

The new congressional measures aim to choke off Iran’s access to imports of refined petroleum products, such as gasoline and jet fuel, and curb its access to the international banking system.

The Senate and House approved the legislation - aimed at forcing Tehran to halt its suspect nuclear program - last week by crushing 99-0 and 408-8 margins, respectively.

The new measures, which backers described as the toughest-ever unilateral U.S. sanctions against the Islamic republic, are piled atop new U.N. Security Council and European sanctions.


Layoffs of workers will distort data

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