The FBI is investigating four major US financial institutions whose collapse helped trigger a $700-billion bailout plan by the Bush administration. The agency is looking at potential fraud by mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, insurer AIG and Lehman Brothers. The inquiries will focus on the companies and the individuals that ran them, a senior law enforcement official said.
Officials said the new inquiries bring to 26 the number of corporate lenders under investigation over the past year. Spokesmen for the companies would not comment. FBI chief Robert Mueller has previously said the FBI's hunt for culprits in the subprime mortgage crisis focused on accounting fraud, insider trading, and failure to disclose the value of mortgage-related securities and other investments.