Goldman Still at the Heart of Crisis Investigations

The banking giant expects Federal subpoenas on its mortgage business.

(May 22, 2011) — Goldman Sachs may receive subpoenas from US prosecutors looking for more information about the firm’s mortgage-related business.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Goldman officials expect the Justice Department to demand additional background information within days. The subpoenas would follow a 639-page report on the financial crisis released last month by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which alleged that Goldman executives misled clients in order to reap profits, and then proceeded to lie to Congress when questioned about its actions. The lengthy report was completed after a two-year probe of the mortgage business that led to financial collapse. It concluded that Goldman mismanaged conflicts of interest, putting its interests above all others.

Already, the banking giant has released hundreds of millions of pages of information to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and to the Federal Crisis Inquiry Commission, the WSJ reported. “Goldman is a high-octane, high-profile target,” Dick Beckler, a partner in Bracewell & Giuliani’s white-collar defence practice, told Reuters.

Earlier this month in a 10Q filing, Goldman Sachs disclosed that it is facing fraud charges over whether it improperly used investment accounts to conduct trades. According to the filing, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) will recommend that the federal regulatory agency bring fraud charges against the banking giant over the firm’s role as clearing broker for an unnamed SEC-registered broker dealer. The CFTC has alleged that Goldman either “knew or should have known” that the broker-dealer’s sub-accounts at Goldman belonged to the dealer’s customers and weren’t the broker-dealer’s own accounts.

Goldman may now face “aiding and abetting, civil fraud and supervision-related charges.” In its quarterly regulatory filing, Goldman noted that the CFTC investigation will focus on Goldman Sachs Execution & Clearing (GSEC), which provides clearing and trade execution services for Goldman clients that include hedge funds, companies, mutual funds and central banks.

The string of inquiries into Goldman Sachs’s behavior comes as the federal government is working with attorneys general around the country to reach a settlement with the biggest banks in the US over accusations of illegal foreclosures and fraudulent mortgage practices.

To contact the <em>aiCIO</em> editor of this story: Paula Vasan at <a href=''></a>; 646-308-2742