A 5-month investigation by McClatchy Newspapers has found that Goldman secretly bet on the housing crash, went out and pimped the dickens out of assets it knew were junk, and may have broken securities laws in doing so. McClatchy found that Goldman…
# Bought and converted into high-yield bonds tens of thousands of mortgages from subprime lenders that became the subjects of FBI investigations into whether they’d misled borrowers or exaggerated applicants’ incomes to justify making hefty loans.
# Used offshore tax havens to shuffle its mortgage-backed securities to institutions worldwide, including European and Asian banks, often in secret deals run through the Cayman Islands, a British territory in the Caribbean that companies use to bypass U.S. disclosure requirements.
# Has dispatched lawyers across the country to repossess homes from bankrupt or financially struggling individuals, many of whom lacked sufficient credit or income but got subprime mortgages anyway because Wall Street made it easy for them to qualify.
# Was buoyed last fall by key federal bailout decisions, at least two of which involved then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, a former Goldman chief executive whose staff at Treasury included several other Goldman alumni.
Whether this really constitutes fraud depends on who knew what, and when did they know it.
How Goldman secretly bet on the U.S. housing crash [McClatchy] (Photo: C. Barr)