US regulators accuse Goldman Sachs of fraud

Every now and then, a single quotation summarises a complex situation.

In August 2007, CitiGroup CEO, Chuck Prince, described their blindness to the financial crisis about to unfold. “We see a lot of people on the Street who are scared. We are not scared. We are not panicked. We are not rattled. Our team has been through this before.’ We are ‘still dancing’“.

Blankfein.jpgSimilarly, a quote from Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO, may well come to typify the aftermath of the crisis, as regulators begin to sift through the wreckage. Giving evidence to Congress in January, the New York Times (NYT) quoted him as saying “when Goldman sells a security that subsequently goes up (i.e., on which the other party makes money), “we wish we hadn’t sold it“.”

As the NYT commented, “so much for putting the customer first“.

Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that the main US regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, has charged Goldman with fraud in respect of a sale of mortgage securities which the SEC says left investors with “losses of more than $1bn“. The SEC says Goldman earned “about $15m for structuring the deal and pitching them to investors“.

Last year, Blankfein also described himself to the London ‘Sunday Times’ as “doing God’s work“. The blog is not sure that investors would necessarily agree.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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