Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who just got himself a lawyer, may be facing the possibility of sinking, either because of his own words in April 2010 before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) or because his shipmates are distancing themselves in a legal version of every man for himself. Or both.
Recall that Blankfein emphatically told the subcommittee, “We didn’t have a massive short against the housing market, and we certainly did not bet against our clients.” The 650-page subcommittee report presented on April 13, 2011, which cites Blankfein 79 times, begs to differ.
The report accused Goldman of trading against its clients by simultaneously shorting certain subprime mortgage securities (a.k.a. “cats and dogs”) while stuffing them into the collateralized debt obligations it sold. It also suggested that Goldman executives, including Blankfein, misled Congress in testimony surrounding the Abacus CDO, Hudson, Timberwolf, and other deals, by saying it didn’t have a big short.
The top lesson I learned before leaving Goldman in the wake of Enron was Goldman’s foremost internal policy is to protect Goldman. It’s also to protect the most powerful members. When cracks manifest in the corporate armor, those two policies are at odds.
How do I describe this news without seeming like I’m not satisfied by my wife? This isn’t just great news, this is arousing!