BBC BLOGS - Mark Mardell's America
« Previous | Main | Next »

Goldman: The grilling continues

Mark Mardell | 20:10 UK time, Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Goldman is hot under the collar as the grilling continues.

Some of the top players in Wall Street's biggest investment bank, Goldman Sachs, are lined up in front of the Senate sub-committee facing a barrage of questions that sound more like accusations than an attempt to get answers.goldman_inquiry_getty226.jpg

The men from Wall Street spend their time rifling through folders of documents in front of them, looking tense and uncomfortable.

Senator Carl Levin, chairing the sub-committee, opened by saying that the company had stacked the decks against the buyers of a financial product. He said that Wall Street had turned bad mortgage loans into economy-wrecking financial instruments.

He said the thread that joined the strands together was unbridled greed.

The senators clearly feel that their witnesses are deliberately wasting time, hoping they will get off the hook and can dodge the questions, as they hunt for e-mails in their folders.

I am not so sure.

Some questions clearly make them uncomfortable, such as whether they have a duty to promote the interests of their clients. The reason is obvious. They often had several clients, with different interests.

But I also detected that they are frustrated by questions framed by amateurs who believe themselves well informed.

The charge of fraud names just one individual, Fabrice Tourre.

He has denied deceiving clients by designing a product that bundled together high-risk mortgages and was secretly designed to fail, benefiting a hedge fund.

He denied it with anger in his voice but he hasn't been properly cross-examined as yet.

The senators lecturing these would-be "masters of the universe" as if they were school boys caught with their fingers in the jam have warned them the hearing will continue until they get answers.

They haven't quite said that no-one leaves the room until someone owns up, but it has much the same feeling.

Comments

or register to comment.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.