April 27, 2010

So it looks like Goldman Sach's strategy is going to be "deny, deny, deny." "We didn't mean it like that," "You're misinterpreting," and "We wouldn't dream of it."

And yet, here we stand, in the smoking rubble of the American dream. And there they are, laughing it up in Park Avenue penthouses. Time for some karma, baby!

Goldman Sachs sought to protect itself from a collapsing housing market by selling mortgage investments that it knew were likely to fail and taking other steps that helped spread risk throughout the financial system, according to the findings of a Senate investigation released Monday.

The investigation by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations suggests that Goldman's actions may also have helped fuel the financial crisis by creating risky investments and then ensuring that other parties were exposed when they lost value.

Excerpts of hundreds of internal Goldman documents released by the committee show that Goldman created and sold complex investments backed by risky home loans. Then, Goldman also bet against those investments by buying a type of insurance that would pay out if the underlying home loans went bad.

"Goldman Sachs was slicing, dicing, and selling toxic mortgage-related securities on Wall Street like many other investment banks, but its executives continue to downplay the firm's role in the financial engineering that blew up the financial markets and cost millions of Americans their jobs, homes, and livelihoods," said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the subcommittee.

"Goldman Sachs made billions of dollars from betting against the housing market, and it placed those bets in some cases at the same time it was selling mortgage related securities to its clients," Levin said. "They have a lot to answer for."

The findings of the Senate probe come as Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein and several other current and former Goldman officials come to Washington to testify before the subcommittee on Tuesday. The panel is using Goldman as a case study of how investment banks fueled the financial crisis.

In prepared testimony released by Goldman, Blankfein says that the firm must do "a better job of striking the balance between what an informed client believes is important to his or her investing goals and what the public believes is overly complex and risky."

He also said "we didn't have a massive short against the housing market and we certainly did not bet against our clients. Rather, we believe that we managed our risk as our shareholders and our regulators would expect."

But internal e-mails show that Goldman did expect to make big profits off the decline in housing.

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