Insurance giant AIG, which is the parent company of International Lease Finance Corp, has filed a lawsuit against one of ILFC's founders, Steven Udvar-Hazy. In the suit, AIG and ILFC claim that Mr. Udvar-Hazy stole trade secrets and other information when he left to form now-rival Air Lease Corporation.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Udvar-Hazy and Air Lease effectively stole business away from ILFC. The suit charges that some employees of ILFC downloaded files and diverted customers to Air Lease before they jumped to the rival company. Both are in the lucrative business of leasing airliners to commercial airlines worldwide.
In a statement, Air Lease said "Since Air Lease Corporation’s founding in 2010, it has experienced terrific success in the marketplace and among investors. In contrast, following AIG’s financial collapse, its subsidiary International Lease Finance Corporation has struggled with an aging fleet, heavy debt load, and loss of talent, and has failed to complete a planned IPO. Unable to compete effectively and perceiving Air Lease as a growing threat, AIG/ILFC has now resorted to a baseless trade secrets lawsuit that Air Lease will vigorously contest and defeat. And while AIG/ILFC wastes its time in court, Air Lease – under the leadership of Steve Udvar-Hazy, one of the most influential figures in the aircraft leasing industry – will continue to focus on providing the best products and services for airlines worldwide."
AIG, which is still owned largely by the federal government following a bailout, is seeking several hundred million dollars in the suit.