Financial Regulatory Forum

Goldman sharply raised political, lobby spending

WASHINGTON, April 21 (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc aggressively increased political campaign donations and lobby spending in Congress in early 2010, as the financial reform debate gathered momentum, according to newly released official documents.

Records show the embattled Wall Street firm nearly doubling its spending on Washington lobbyists to $1.2 million during the first quarter of 2010, as the focus of the reform debate shifted to legislation proposed by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd.

The bank spent $670,000 on lobbying during the same period a year ago, according to Senate disclosure records. The data does not show how much lobby money Goldman spent specifically on financial reform.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Goldman Sachs with fraud over the structure and marketing of a debt product tied to subprime mortgages. Goldman has denied the charges.

The first-quarter increase may also be skewed by a new federal standard that requires corporations to report lobby donations to trade associations during the three-month period.

Paulson reassures clients on Goldman deal, no exits yet

FINANCIAL/   By Svea Herbst-Bayliss
   BOSTON, April 20 (Reuters) – Clients with Paulson & Co, which was involved in a mortgage deal that prompted civil fraud charges against Goldman Sachs <GS.N>, spoke with the manager on Monday, but so far no one has notified the firm of plans to leave his fund, several investors said. (more…)

Goldman Sachs profit tops forecast, UK opens probe

A security guard walks through Goldman Sachs lobby in New York   By Steve Eder and Steve Slater
   NEW YORK/LONDON, April 20 (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc <GS.N> said first-quarter earnings nearly doubled, and Britain’s financial regulator launched a formal probe related to civil fraud allegations against the Wall Street bank. (more…)

UK launches formal probe into Goldman Sachs

   LONDON, April 20 (Reuters) – Britain’s financial regulator started a formal enforcement investigation into Goldman Sachs <GS.N> on Tuesday, four days after U.S. regulators filed a fraud case against Wall Street’s biggest investment bank. (more…)

BREAKINGVIEWS-How Goldman Sachs fell out with the SEC

   By Nicholas Dunbar — The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –
   LONDON, April 20 (Reuters Breakingviews) – In December 2000 I received an email from the Goldman Sachs <GS.N> press office in New York, nominating the firm for Risk magazine’s “Risk Manager of the Year” award. Central to the pitch was how the Wall Street bank had run a boot camp for its supervisors at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, training them in concepts like value-at-risk and derivatives hedging. (more…)

Rep Frank says Goldman case helps financial reform

    WASHINGTON, April 19 (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Barney Frank said on Monday that securities regulators’ fraud case against Goldman Sachs <GS.N> increases the chance that financial reform will pass. (more…)

BREAKINGVIEWS-Goldman’s CDO investors: fools or victims?

   By Hugo Dixon and Richard Beales
   LONDON/NEW YORK, April 19 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Were the investors who lost $1 billion by buying a fearfully complex product sold by Goldman Sachs <GS.N> in the dying days of the credit boom fools or victims? That’s the key distinction on which the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s fraud charges, which roiled the investment bank when they were unveiled on Friday, hinge. (more…)

UK’s Brown wants investigation into Goldman Sachs

   By Adrian Croft
   LONDON, April 18 (Reuters) – Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Sunday he wanted Britain’s financial watchdog to investigate U.S. bank Goldman Sachs <GS.N> after it was charged with fraud by U.S. regulators. (more…)

Goldman makes financial reform passage certain: John Kemp

      By John Kemp — John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The  views expressed are his own – 
   LONDON, April 16 (Reuters) – It is now virtually certain financial reform legislation will go sailing through the Senate, following the complaint filed against Goldman Sachs <GS.N> and an employee in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by the Securities and Exchange Commission this afternoon. (more…)

EU asks Greece to explain derivatives reports

By Luke Baker and David Brunnstrom

BRUSSELS, Feb 15 (Reuters) – The European Union has asked Greece to explain reports that it engaged in derivatives trades with U.S. investment banks that may have allowed it to mask the size of its debt and deficit from EU authorities.

According to the New York Times, one contract in 2001 — carried out just as Greece was joining Europe’s monetary union — involved Greece selling forward future lottery receipts and airport landing fees in exchange for cash to write down debts.

The deal was treated as a currency trade rather than a loan, according to the newspaper, allowing Greece to hide it from public view while meeting EU deficit limits.