Tags: Reports: | Greenberg | May | Take | Fifth | Case

Reports: Greenberg May Take Fifth in Case

Monday, 11 April 2005 12:00 AM

A call to Greenberg's legal team was not immediately returned Monday morning.

Buffett, accompanied by one man believed to be a Berkshire Hathaway attorney, entered a side door at the Woolworth Building in lower Manhattan where the Securities and Exchange Commission has a regional office, avoiding more than two dozen reporters and camera crew members at the front entrance.

AIG is being investigated by the SEC and Spitzer's office.

On Sunday, Spitzer said Buffett is merely a witness who could "shed light" on transactions involving Greenberg. Spitzer and the SEC are looking into allegations of accounting improprieties at AIG involving a unit of Buffett's company.

Greenberg was forced out in mid-March as those allegations mounted. Greenberg is scheduled to speak with regulators on Tuesday.

"We believe (Buffett) can shed light on a series of transactions that ... Hank Greenberg participated in," Spitzer said in an interview Sunday with ABC's "This Week" television program.

Spitzer stressed that Buffett was "not a subject or a target of our investigation," but said, "There are some ambiguities that will be hopefully addressed in our discussion with Mr. Buffett."

Buffett was subpoenaed in January and has said he would cooperate.

Berkshire Hathaway did not return a call seeking comment.

The investigators are looking into a number of reinsurance transactions, which involve insurance purchased by insurance companies like AIG. Reinsurance traditionally has been used to spread out risk among insurers but, in some cases, it has been used for the questionable purpose of polishing a company's financial statements.

In the case under review, AIG purchased reinsurance from Berkshire Hathaway's General Re Corp. in the fourth quarter of 2000 and first quarter of 2001. Investigators have said that AIG used the deals to pump up its reserves when markets were uneasy about the company's outstanding liabilities.

AIG has said its accounting for the transactions with General Re "was improper and, in light of the lack of evidence of risk transfer, these transactions should not have been recorded as insurance."

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A call to Greenberg's legal team was not immediately returned Monday morning. Buffett, accompanied by one man believed to be a Berkshire Hathaway attorney, entered a side door at the Woolworth Building in lower Manhattan where the Securities and Exchange Commission has...
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Monday, 11 April 2005 12:00 AM
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