American International Group has reported strong profits growth for the first quarter of 2005, indicating that its regulatory problems in the US have not affected its global business.

Despite facing ongoing investigations into its business practises and recent accounting actions on its home patch, AIG has delivered a 44% profits growth compared to the opening three months of last year. The insurance titan has reported earnings of $3.68 billion compared to $2.56 billion in Q1 2004, representing an increase of almost a third over last year.

The unexpectedly strong outcome has been attributed to continued healthy business in Japan and the growth insurance sector in South East Asia. Foreign life insurance was the fastest-growing of AIG’s insurance businesses, with pretax profit increasing 52% to $1.36 billion.

Commenting on these results, AIG president and chief executive officer Martin Sullivan said, This was a good quarter for AIG, with all four of our business segments contributing to the growth in net income. These results are a testament to the strength and diversity of our global franchise.

The announcement of positive financial results comes at the same time that former AIG boss Maurice Greenberg has revealed that he is reversing a $2.28 billion transfer of AIG shares to his wife. According to the BBC, US regulators were concerned that the original share transfer was a fraudulent attempt by Greenberg to safeguard assets.