Goldman Sachs charged with fraud by US regulators

A US financial regulator charged Goldman Sachs Friday with defrauding investors in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis that derailed the global economy, the first civil charges brought in relation to Wall Street's near collapse.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleged that Goldman Sachs colluded with a hedge fund client, Paulson & Co, to make money out of the sub-prime housing market - a controversial sector in which banks offered loans with fast-rising interest rates to homebuyers with a poor credit history.

The SEC says Goldman helped Paulson bet against its own sub-prime mortgage-backed securities, which constituted a major chunk of the US housing market and the collapse of which led Wall Street to the brink of disaster in October 2008.

Goldman's stock plunged more than 15 percent on news of the civil suit, dragging down other financial firms and pulling the entire stock market down more than 1 percent in trading Friday morning.

Brought in district court in New York, the suit marks the first charges filed by the US government against Wall Street in relation to the collapse of the housing sector. Millions of homeowners have been forced into foreclosure over the last few years as a decade-long housing bubble burst, starting in mid-2006.

'Goldman wrongly permitted a client that was betting against the mortgage market to heavily influence which mortgage securities to include in an investment portfolio, while telling other investors that the securities were selected by an independent, objective third party,' said Robert Khuzami, director of the SEC's enforcement division.

'The product was new and complex but the deception and conflicts are old and simple,' Khuzami said.


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Janice Miller said...

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