Earlier this year, executives at AIG’s Financial Products division, which was widely blamed for putting the company in such a sorry state it needed a bailout worth $180 billion in capital and loans, hoped to stamp out the furor over their bonuses by promising to pay a good chunk of the money back. Of $165 million that was spread around in “retention bonuses,” the employees had pledged to hand back $45 million. And yet, as 2009 comes to a close, most of the money is nowhere to be found. So far, only $19 million of the $45 million has been recovered; the rest remains with employees who’ve since left the company and taken the money with them, and others who are simply refusing to give it back. AIG no doubt hopes to get the matter resolved as quickly as possible to avoid the spate of bad press and ill will the bonuses sparked last spring—especially considering it’s due to hand out another $198 million this coming March.