American International Group Inc. says a federal judge has givenpreliminary approval to a $450 million settlement it reached with ahandful of companies that alleged AIG cheated a workers'compensation program.

AIG says it is pleased with thecourt's ruling and is “optimistic that the proposed settlement willsoon receive final approval as a fair and appropriate resolution ofthis litigation.”

Liberty Mutual, which originally filed the lawsuit against AIGon behalf of all the companies and has tried to stop thesettlement, says in an emailed statement that it wants “to evaluatethe judge's written opinion before offering any comment.”

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