New York & Charlotte, N.C. — American International Group Inc. defended itself today against media reports of a sales meeting held at a luxury resort in Phoenix last week, saying the event was an "essential training meeting."ABC News reported details of the event late Monday, the same day the U.S. government announced a restructuring of a bailout plan for the insurer, boosting aid to the company to around $150 billion—even after the company said months ago it would stop "all nonessential conferences, meetings and activities that do not clearly maximize value and service given the current conditions."

"We reviewed this one. This one did not slip by," AIG spokesman Nick Ashooh said. "Some of the things we've done in the past certainly can be criticized, but this was a totally legitimate event that wasn't even for AIG employees."

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