How Wall Street Thieves, Led by Goldman Sachs, Took Down the Global Economy -- Their Outsized Influence Must be Stopped
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The Case against Goldman Sachs
It’s obvious that the subcommittee is gunning for Goldman Sachs, and for good reason. This elite investment house, the envy of all Wall Street, is shown to be corrupt to its core. Not only is it accused of creating toxic assets and unloading them on its own customers, but also, the report accuses GS of betting that the very assets they were selling would fail. They profited by selling the junk and then profited even more when the junk they were selling lost value. The deeper the financial destruction, the more they made. And of course, they didn’t tell the buyers of the toxic assets about GS’s hidden bets or the fact that their internal research showed that the assets were totally toxic. The report is the most detailed account ever written about the Goldman Sachs profitable trail of deceptions including lies that were told to Senate committees again and again.
Lie #1: 'Putting our Customers First'
The path of looting and destruction starts in 2006-'07 when the leadership of Goldman Sachs became convinced that the housing market was in decline and that they had to get rid of all their mortgage-related securities in a hurry. Well, how do you get rid of crap? You package it together, slice and dice it and get your favorite rating agency strumpets to kiss it with AAA-ratings. Then you send your sales force out on a mad scramble around the world to find customers. The problem was that by then most mortgage security buyers knew these assets were toxic AND that the ratings were phony. So GS told its sales agents to seek out customers who knew the least about mortgage-related securities. Nice.
Lie #2: 'Our interests are aligned with our customer’s interests'
Once the junk was packaged and sold, GS placed billions of dollars of bets that the mortgages contained or referenced in the securities would crash and burn. The more they crashed, the more the bets paid off for Goldman Sachs. However, GS failed to reveal this crucial information to its customers. Rather it said that GS’s interests were aligned with that of its customers, implying that GS was buying into the deal and holding the same garbage as the customers were buying. The report details many cases where GS bet big against what they were selling without providing this material information to its buyers.
The Goldman Sachs-Paulson Sting
The most egregious example of this swindle was the Abacus deal that GS cooked up with Paulson and Company, the hedge fund that bet billions that toxic mortgage-related assets would fail. Paulson approached GS with a plan to rig a bet that was sure to fail for the buyers and pay off big for Paulson. Without telling the buyers, Paulson was allowed to set the criteria for the selection of the toxic assets that were placed in the securities, and of course he picked the worst ones he could find. As the report says;
“With respect to Abacus, Goldman knew that the Paulson hedge fund wanted to take 100% of the short side and would profit only if the CDO lost value, yet allowed the hedge fund to play a major but hidden role in selecting the CDO assets.” (p 620)
To hide Paulson’s role, GS needed an independent “portfolio selection agent” to pretend to be the final arbiter of what mortgage pools became part of the security. They hoped that GHC Partners would play that role. But, as a key Goldman Sachs executive reported to his colleagues, GHC found the deal too unsavory: