Nine of the 10 executives who received top bonuses from American International Group have agreed to return them, New York's top legal officer said on Monday.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo told reporters on a conference call that he hopes to recoup $80 million of bonus payments, or about half of the $165 million paid by the giant insurer on March 15.

A number of them have risen to the occasion and I applaud them, said Cuomo, who is investigating several banks and firms, including AIG, who received bailout money and paid handsome bonuses to employees.

Cuomo's investigation is intended to determine if AIG broke securities laws by not fully disclosing information about the award of bonuses to executives for 2008 even as it was on the brink of failure and relied on U.S. government money to stay afloat.

(Reporting by Grant McCool and Patricia Zuill; Editing by Bernard Orr)