Economy Briefs: AIG wants $30.2 million in tax interest

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American International Group, the insurance giant saved by a massive federal bailout, wants some tax money back from 1991.

AIG is suing in Federal Claims Court in Washington for $30.2 million. It says that’s how much interest is owed from an overpayment 21 years ago.

AIG said it underpaid taxes for 1997, 1998, and 1999. But it said the government owes it interest for an overpayment in 1991. It said the two claims work out to $30.2 million in the company’s favor.

New York-based AIG said it filed the lawsuit Thursday because the statute of limitations on its claims was about to run out. The statute of limitations runs for six years on the amounts, which AIG said were determined in July and August 2006.

GERMANY

President: Merkel needs to explain euro policies

BERLIN — Germany’s president Sunday called on Chancellor Angela Merkel to better explain Europe’s efforts at tackling the euro crisis to citizens and welcomed a court challenge to the bloc’s new bailout mechanism.

In a rare intervention on current affairs, Joachim Gauck said Mrs. Merkel “has a duty to explain in a very detailed way” what the policies designed to save the single currency meant for the average person.

“Sometimes it is hard to explain what it is about. And sometimes the energy is lacking to tell the people openly what is going on,” added Mr. Gauck in extracts of a ZDF television interview.

Mr. Gauck also said he was “pleased” Germany’s top court would soon consider challenges to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and fiscal pact key tools for fighting the crisis. The president, whose office is largely ceremonial, has agreed to a request by the constitutional court to refrain from signing off on the two laws after their parliamentary approval on June 29.

AVIATION

Boeing boss downplays Airbus plant in Alabama

LONDON — The new boss of aircraft giant Boeing on Sunday downplayed the impact of Airbus’ decision to build a plant in the U.S., saying the customer does not care where a product is made.

“At the end of the day you win with the best products, the best value and the best relationships with customers,” Ray Conner, president of Boeing Commercial Aviation, said Sunday on the eve of Britain’s Farnborough Airshow.

Airbus announced with much fanfare last Monday the construction of a production facility in Alabama to build medium-haul A320 jets, bringing the European giant closer to its U.S. clients. However, Mr. Conner said he did not believe airlines really care where the planes were made.

“If they did care, we’d have 100 percent of the (U.S.) market,” the new boss, who took up his post on June 26, told journalists in London.

Boeing produces all of its aircraft in the U.S., where it holds 80 percent market share. Airbus has plants in Toulouse, Hamburg and in Tianjin, China.

EUROPE

Italian leader blasts bailout-critical countries

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France | Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti on Sunday slammed unnamed European Union states for undermining the “credibility” of the eurozone and urged rapid action on an agreed strategy for resolving the debt crisis. After a new surge in borrowing rates for Italy and Spain, Mr. Monti denounced some “northern” countries in an apparent reference to Finland and the Netherlands, which publicly questioned some decisions reached at last month’s EU summit.

The Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers will meet in Brussels on Monday and again on July 20, following the watershed EU summit that promised fresh capital for Spain’s struggling banks, a European bank union to keep lenders in line and making it easier for the bloc’s new bailout fund to help states in trouble.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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