BUSINESS
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

AIG Autopsy: Eliot Spitzer Calls For Investigation Like Swiss UBS

Inquiring minds want to know ... where's the inquiry?

Three prominent former prosecutors are calling for the government to make AIG release internal emails that could cast light on the insurance giant's collapse, which ended with a $180 billion government bailout and gave taxpayers 80% ownership of the company.

Giving the public access to the information would allow for a unique "open source" investigation and provide many answers about AIG, but it still wouldn't address a fundamental question raised by one of the prosecutors.

"Why wasn't a post-mortem required, as the Swiss Banking Federation did of UBS?" asked Eliot Spitzer in an email to the Huffington Post. The former attorney general and governor of New York noted, "That was a very comprehensive report."

UBS released the results of their investigation in April of 2008 after writing down several billion dollars in U.S. subprime mortgages. While it references the Swiss Federal Banking Commission, an employee at UBS expressed doubt that the Swiss National Bank, which helped rescue the private bank, "gave them much choice."

Spitzer has also asked Phil Angelides, chairman of a congress-appointed Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, to examine the internal investigations of certain companies. "There are serious privilege issues here," he acknowledged. "But the public interest should somehow override it in at least a limited way." He further suggested that the Treasury could have -- and maybe should have -- made such transparency a condition for TARP recipients.

"Our real economy was held hostage to the saving of the financial sector," said Rob Johnson, Director of Economic Policy at the Roosevelt Institute. He doesn't believe private investors in the financial sector would tolerate the same treatment that taxpayers face now.

"The American people paid $180 billion and we own AIG," he argued. "No more evasive action from Bernanke, Geithner, and the president. Who are they protecting?"

READ THE UBS REPORT:

UBS Write Down Report -