Joe Cassano

John Gapper

Joe Cassano has been invisible for so long – since the 2008 crisis, the former head of AIG’s now-notorious  financial products division has not given a media interview and is only rarely photographed – that it was a revelation to watch his appearance on Capitol Hill.

Mr Cassano’s mystique was such, and the expectations of him so low, that my first impression was that he was a good witness. His co-operative, friendly, somewhat geeky demeanour in front of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was unlike that of a brash master of the universe.

This helped him in his striking assertion that AIGFP, which made multi-billion dollar mark-to-market losses on its portfolio of credit default swaps and turned AIG into the dark heart of the financial crisis, did not make any mistakes in credit risk management. Read more