Wednesday, Jul. 20, 2011

Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs

Scandal: The financial crisis and civil fraud lawsuit

Best quote from the testimony: "They're buying something from you, and you are betting against it. And you want people to trust you? I wouldn't trust you." — Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan

On April 16, 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced it would be suing investment bank and securities firm Goldman Sachs for allegedly betting against its clients in brokering a deal to sell collateralized debt obligations based on subprime residential mortgage-backed securities. Some 10 days later, CEO Lloyd Blankfein and six other current and former Goldman Sachs employees testified before the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Mindful of the pending lawsuit, what transpired was a master class in evasive doublespeak and flat-out denial. In addition to asking the Senators to repeat nearly every question two or three times, the Goldman Sachs employees spent minutes rifling through papers when asked about anything specific, thereby taking up the Senators' allotted time. After more than 10 hours, the visibly annoyed Senators — Levin, Republican Susan Collins of Maine, Republican John McCain of Arizona — had had enough.