E-mails show Goldman boasting as meltdown unfolds

E-mails show Goldman boasting as meltdown unfolds

E-mails show Goldman boasting as meltdown unfolds

By DAN STRUMPF, AP

NEW YORK — E-mails released by a Senate committee investigating the financial crisis show top executives at Goldman Sachs Inc. boasting about money the firm was making as the housing market collapsed in 2007.

The documents suggest that Goldman benefited at least for a time from bets that subprime mortgage-backed securities would lose value. The e-mails appear to contradict previous statements by the investment bank that it lost money on such securities.

“Of course we didn’t dodge the mortgage mess,” CEO Lloyd Blankfein wrote in an e-mail dated Nov. 18, 2007, according to the documents released Saturday morning. “We lost money, then made more than we lost because of shorts.”

Short positions, in contrast to long positions, are bets that a financial security will lose value. Goldman is also the target of a civil fraud lawsuit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which alleges that the firm misled investors about how a subprime mortgage-backed security was created. Goldman has denied the charges.

The e-mails were released by Sen. Carl Levin’s office, who is presiding over an investigation into the financial crisis. Blankfein, along with other Goldman personnel, are scheduled to testify during a Senate hearing into the crisis on Tuesday.

In another e-mail, Goldman Chief Financial Officer David Viniar says that in one day the firm made more than $50 million on bets that the housing market would collapse, according to a statement from Levin’s office.

“Tells you what might be happening to people who don’t have the big short,” Viniar writes in the message dated July 25, 2007. Viniar is also scheduled to testify on Tuesday.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

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