Venue Changed In AIG Case

Bloomberg News
April 1, 2006

Four former insurance executives facing federal charges of conspiring to distort American International Group's finances won a motion to move their trial to Connecticut from Virginia.

U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee in Alexandria, Va., agreed to move the trial to U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut after the defendants argued that most of the events at the center of the government's case took place in Connecticut. A trial had been set to begin May 22 in Alexandria.

At the center of the case is a reinsurance transaction between AIG and General Re, a Stamford-based unit of Berkshire Hathaway. The defendants are Ronald Ferguson, former CEO of General Re, Elizabeth Monrad, its former chief financial officer, Robert Graham, who had been assistant general counsel, and Christian Milton, the previous head of reinsurance at AIG.

"Connecticut is the center of gravity here," said Clifford Schoenberg, a partner in Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft LLP in New York, who represents Ferguson. "It's where the vast majority of the witnesses reside, and it's where the defendants and their families have lived for decades."

The four were accused Feb. 2 of designing a sham reinsurance deal in 2000 that let AIG, the insurance giant, inflate its reported reserves for claims. The charges were brought by federal prosecutors who had also been investigating whether General Re had a role in the collapse of Virginia insurer Reciprocal of America.

Lee granted the motion Thursday, according to a court order. is Copyright 2006 by The Hartford Courant

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