updated 5/6/2009 8:21:57 PM ET 2009-05-07T00:21:57

Embattled insurer American International Group Inc. said it has set aside and paid in part nearly $1.5 billion in retention and performance-related bonuses to its employees, a higher amount than previously disclosed.

The payments, $1 billion for retention purposes and more than $454 million that are performance-related, have been made as AIG received more than $180 billion from the federal government.

Members of Congress and the public have expressed outrage that companies receiving federal assistance were still paying bonuses and other perks to their workers.

The New York-based company previously said it will pay around $1 billion in payments aimed at retaining employees through 2010. Some of that money was paid out in 2008, and more will be paid out this year and in 2010.

But in answers to questions from a lawmaker that were released earlier this week, AIG said it also paid more than $454.7 million in previously undisclosed performance bonuses to employees in 2008.

AIG was heavily criticized by government officials and the public after it awarded $165 million in bonuses in March; the money is included in the $1 billion in retention bonuses. Some of the money was returned by employees.

AIG told Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, that the performance bonuses were paid out by operating units, across the company's operations in some 120 countries.

The payments, on average, ranged from $4,994 to employees of its financial services business, to $51,026 for employees in the company's asset management group.

AIG also told Cummings that the company's 2009 bonus plans were under development, "in consultation with the Federal Reserve and Treasury."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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