The bank was able to pay employees competitively in 2009 and is subject to the same compensation oversight in 2010 as its major competitors, John Gerspach said at a conference hosted by Credit Suisse.
We're not fighting with any hands behind our back, Gerspach said.
The comment follows arguments by some analysts that the government's remaining investment in the bank, including more $24 billion of Citigroup shares, could prevent Citi from paying outsized bonuses.
Citigroup was one of the few banks in 2009 that was subject to the oversight of the Obama administration's pay czar, Kenneth Feinberg, who had a say on the compensation for the bank's top 100 employees.
But after Citigroup repaid $20 billion to the government in December, Feinberg has no say regarding the bank's 2010 pay.
The U.S. Treasury still owns 7.7 billion Citigroup shares, which are worth $24.5 billion at Citigroup's current share price of $3.18. The stake represents about 27 percent of the bank's shares.
The government bought Citigroup shares at $3.25 apiece and has said it will not sell them at a loss. It agreed in December to hold onto the shares until at least April.
Citigroup is still participating in the Federal Reserve's review of pay practices at the 28 largest and most complex banking organizations.
(Reporting by Dan Wilchins; editing by John Wallace)