DoJ a bullet: Goldman Sachs escapes lawsuit in fraud inquiry
The Department of Justice and investigative agencies say “the burden of proof to bring a criminal case could not be met based on the law and facts as they exist at this time,” despite evidence revealed by the probe that Goldman Sachs deliberately misled its customers.
They added that should more information come to light then the verdict could potentially change.
The Justice Department said that it had conducted an “exhaustive investigation” into allegations of fraud during the crisis from 2008 to 2009. The probe reportedly uncovered email conversations between employees of Goldman Sachs branding mortgage securities sold to investors as “junk” and “crap”.
Moreover, the probe writes that the bank “used net short positions to benefit from the downturn in the mortgage market, and designed, marketed, and sold CDOs [collateralized debt obligations] in ways that created conflicts of interest with the firm’s clients and at times led to the bank’s profiting from the same products that caused substantial losses for its clients.”
Senator Carl Levin called for an investigation into GS after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a complaint against the company in 2010 regarding the subprime mortgage product Abacus.
The complaint said that GS had deceived its customers into purchasing highly unstable investments eventually losing them an estimated $1 billion.
The only employee implicated in the Abacus scandal was Fabrice Tourre, accused by the SEC of making misstatements and omissions from financial records.
The company vice president, calling himself “Fabulous Fab”, allegedly wrote to a friend on January 23, 2007, boasting about the mortgage schemes.
“More and more leverage in the system, The whole building is about to collapse anytime now…Only potential survivor, the fabulous Fab… standing in the middle of all these complex, highly-leveraged, exotic trades he created without necessarily understanding all of the implications of those monstrosities,” wrote Tourre.
Goldman Sachs appeased the SEC by paying out $550 million in 2010. They admitted that they should have been more forthcoming as to the nature of the mortgage investments. Fabrice Tourre is currently embroiled in an ongoing lawsuit with the SEC over the case.
Although the Department of Justice has stated that it will “aggressively pursue” any financial cases that threaten the US economy, it has let a number of high-profile cases slide recently.
Citibank and JP Morgan had to shell out multi-million dollar settlements to the SEC for selling off high-risk debt packages to clients under the guise of stable investments.
The end is nigh?
US regulators have ordered the five largest banks in the country to make plans for an imminent collapse, reported Reuters.
Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc,, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co have all been warned by US regulators that they may not be able to count on government help to prevent them from going under.
Documents obtained by Reuters say that the plans to create “living wills” with a view to helping regulators dismantle banks in a worst-case scenario have been in the works for two years now.
Banks should "make no assumption of extraordinary support from the public sector,” say the documents.
The files stipulate that the plans must be able to be put into action in a period of three to six months.