Goldman Sachs responds to senator's perjury allegations
Goldman Sachs (GS) stock fell more than 2% Thursday morning after Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) suggested a new Senate report might show the investment bank misled Congress when previously testifying about the causes of the financial crisis. Sen. Levin, who released the bipartisan "Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse" study on Wednesday, told reporters Goldman may have mislead Congress when representatives from the agency testified they were not involved in a short. Levin alleged "their testimony was misleading and inaccurate," but said his office will refer the testimony to the Department of Justice for them to decide whether an act of perjury occurred in front of Congress or not. Goldman responded to the accusations: "The testimony we have was truthful and accurate and this is confirmed by the Subcommittee's own report. The report references testimony from Goldman Sachs witnesses who repeatedly and consistently acknowledged that we were intermittently net short during 2007. We did not have a massive net short position because our short positions were largely offset by our long positions, and our financial results clearly demonstrate this point." After Levin's diatribe, Goldman's stock fell, compounding the firm's stress from the impact of the Senate subcommittee's report. The report released Wednesday also criticized Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank for conflicts of interest and suggested that "throughout 2007, Goldman sold RMBS and CDO securities to its clients without disclosing its own net short positions against the subprime market or its purchase of CDS contracts to gain from the loss in value of some of the very securities it was selling to its clients." Goldman Sachs took issue with the basic premise of the report. "While we disagree with much of the report, we take seriously the issues explored by the subcommittee," the company said. "We recently issued the results of a comprehensive examination of our business standards and practices and committed to making significant changes that will strengthen relationships with clients, improve transparency and disclosure and enhance standards for the review, approval and suitability of complex instruments." The Senate subcommittee report outlines one Goldman deal in which the report claims the firm "selected a large number of poorly performing assets for the CDO, took 40% of the short position, and then marketed the securities to its clients." The report further claims that "when a client asked how Goldman 'got comfortable' with the New Century loans in the CDO, Goldman personnel tried to dispel concerns about the loans, and did not disclose the firm’s own negative view of them or its short position in the CDO." The subcommittee report also evaluated Deutsche Bank and reported one alleged incident in which the bank's top global CDO trader "was asked to buy a specific CDO security, and he responded that it rarely trades, but said he 'would take it and try to dupe someone into buying it.'" Write to Kerri Panchuk.