Articles Posted in Goldman Sachs

Edwin Chin, an ex-Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) senior trader, will pay $400K to resolve U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges accusing him of misleading the bank’s customers when he sold them residential mortgage-backed securities at prices that were higher than they should have been. Even though he is settling, Chin is not denying or admitting to the regulator’s findings. He has, however, agreed to the entry of the order stating that he violated the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5.

According to the Commission’s order, from 2010 until 2012, which is when Chin left the bank, the former Goldman trader made extra money for the firm by concealing the prices that it had paid for different RMBSs and reselling the securities at higher prices to customers. The difference in cost would go to Goldman.

The SEC said Chin made over $1.5M in additional trading profits. Because Goldman made more money, Chin did as well.

The regulator accused Chin of sometimes misleading buyers by suggesting that he was in the process of negotiating a transaction between customers when he was merely selling residential mortgage-backed securities from Goldman’s inventory. In one alleged incident, Chin earned an additional $200K by telling a hedge fund client that he would sell a bond at cost price and without compensation. Unfortunately, he purportedly neglected to tell the hedge fund that he had already bought the security, had it in inventory, and was charging the fund a worse price than what Goldman paid earlier that day. The SEC said that Chin misled the same client about the price of a different security the following day, resulting in an additional $100K in profit.

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The U.S. Attorney for Manhattan’s Southern District is asking the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to look at a ruling that overturned the jury verdict that held Countrywide Home Loans liable for mortgage fraud. Countrywide, which is now owned by Bank of America (BAC), made billions of dollars on home loans that went into default following the 2008 financial crisis.

It was in 2007 that the mortgage provider introduced a new program, referred to as the “high-speed swim lane,” to process applications for mortgages. Within Countrywide, the program was dubbed the “hustle.”

The program did not include the majority of conditions required to make sure loans would be paid back after Wall Street banks, Freddie Mac, or Fannie Mae sold them to investors. Unfortunately, Freddie and Fannie were not told that these conditions had become more relaxed or that loans no longer met certain criteria. The two mortgage finance firms had tightened their own loan buying requirements and underwriting guidelines. As a result of the loosened restrictions by Countrywide, contended the Justice Department, “rampant instances of fraud” resulted.

Despite the 2013 jury verdict that found Countrywide and a Bank of America executive liable for mortgage fraud, a Second Circuit judge panel overruled the decision. It found that even though Countrywide purposely breached contracts, this was not fraud because the lender had not intended to fool customers at the time that contracts were signed.

Now, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara wants a Second Circuit panel of judges to consider that Countrywide made false statements when selling loan bundles to customers, including Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. He said that the court bypassed evidence at trial that showed how the defendants made fraudulent misrepresentations when selling the loans and while the contracts were being executed. Prosecutors are arguing that the language in the contract refers to each mortgage sale during the actual sale and not upon the writing of the contract.

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Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) is a defendant in a securities lawsuit brought by Primus Pacific Partners. Primus used to own 20% of Eon Capital, a Malaysian lender. In its complaint, brought in the New York State Supreme Court, Primus accused Goldman and ex-Managing Director Tim Leissner of hiding that there were conflicts of interest involving Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which is a sovereign wealth fund.

Goldman had been advising Eon Capital when the latter was considering a takeover offer from Hong Leong Bank Bhd, which is a Malaysian bank. According to Primus, in January ’10, Goldman and Leissner determined that Hong Leong’s first bid wasn’t fair. A few months later later, however, they decided that a revised offer that was only 2.8% greater was fair and recommended that Eon Capital take the deal.

The plaintiff believes that Goldman approved of the higher bid because it was seeking to impress the Malaysian Prime Minster whose brothers would benefit from a merger. Nazim Rajak worked for Hong Leong as a director while Nazir Rajak was chairman of CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, which advised Hong Leong about its takeover bid of EON Capital.

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Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) will pay $36.3M to settle allegations accusing ex-employees of obtaining access to confidential documents from the Federal Reserve. The Fed contends that Joseph Jiampietro, while working as a Goldman Sachs managing director, obtained the unauthorized supervisory data belonging to bank regulators and utilized the information for his work at the financial firm.

The Fed said that ex-Goldman Sachs banker Rohit Bansal was the one who shared the confidential documents with Jiampietro. Bansal had gotten the documents from his friend Jason Gross, a New York Fed employee that he used to work with at the regulatory agency. The confidential data involved a bank that was a client of Goldman Sachs. Last year, Bansal pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge involving the Fed documents, while Gross pleaded guilty to giving Bansal the information.

The Fed believes that Jiampietro used the confidential information to make pitches to potential and current clients. A lawyer for Jiampietro, who had previously worked for UBS Group Ag (UBS) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), maintains that the allegations against his client are “demonstrably false.”

Jiampietro maintains that he never asked anyone for confidential supervisory information, nor did he use said information to benefit him or anyone else. Last week, he filed a lawsuit against Goldman Sachs accusing his former employer of not paying at least $350K in legal fees that he incurred in the government probe into the Fed documents.

As part of the settlement, Goldman Sachs will remedy flaws in its policies so that confidential document leaks don’t happen in the future. The firm will have to set up an improved program to fulfill compliance expectations around issuing and using secret supervisory information and it cannot re-hire individuals previously linked to improper disclosures.

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Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and Basis Capital’s Basis Yield Alpha Fund have reached an agreement to settle the $1B collateralized debt obligation fraud lawsuit brought by the Australian hedge fund against the bank several years ago. The Basis Yield Alpha Fund accused Goldman Sachs of making false statements related to its marketing of the Timberwolf, a mortgage-linked investment, and the Point Pleasant collateralized debt obligation (CDO). (The Timberwolf investment was named in the 2011 U.S. Senate report that found that Goldman misled clients about mortgage-backed securities.)

The Australian hedge fund, in its complaint, claimed that Goldman falsely claimed that the market for CDO investments had become stable even though it knew that was not the case. These particular securities dropped in value within weeks of purchase by the fund.

The Basis Yield Alpha Fund is convinced that Goldman sold the securities to rid itself of the toxic subprime mortgages while making money by shorting the securities. The fund sought repayment of over $67M it claims was lost by investing in the collateralized debt obligations, as well as $1B in punitive damages. Goldman, which argued that the fund’s losses were caused by the demise of the housing market and not because of any alleged misrepresentations, claimed that the Australian hedge fund filed its CDO fraud lawsuit to try to get the bank to pay these losses.

In the High Court in London, the trial in the lawsuit brought by the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) against Goldman Sachs (GS) is under way. The sovereign wealth fund claims that in 2008 the Wall Street bank misled it about a number of derivatives transactions, causing it to lose $1.2B when the contracts matured five years ago. The transactions are tied to Citigroup (C) stock and other companies’ stmck.

Court filings state that LIA had wanted to buy stakes in global companies that it could potentially partner up with in the future for development. The sovereign wealth fund was set up in 2006 to manage money from the country’s oil fields after Libya was taken off the U.S. government’s list of states that were considered terrorist sponsors.

Goldman made over $200M on the transactions. Meantime, the Libyan fund lost its investment when the economic crisis caused stock prices to drop.

Goldman disputes the allegations made by the Libyan Investment Authority, which claims that it was an unsophisticated investor that the firm took advantage of, persuading it to invest in transactions that it didn’t want or understand. In court, a lawyer for the sovereign wealth fund accused Goldman of using gifts, trips to Morocco, London, and Dubai, training programs, and an internship for the brother of the deputy executive officer of the fund to get the fund to invest.

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Bank of America to Pay Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle $190M
Bank of America Corp. will pay $190M to resolve mortgage-backed securities fraud charges brought by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle. The SEC filing stated that the settlement was reached last month and that most of it was previously accrued. The lawsuit alleged misstatements and omissions during the issuance of MBSs.

It was just earlier this year that Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch and 10 other banks agreed to pay over $63M to resolve accusations that they misrepresented residential mortgage-backed securities to the Virginia Retirement System and the state of Virginia.

Judge Approves $270M Mortgage-Backed Securities Fraud Settlement Involving Goldman Sachs
A federal judge has approved the proposed settlement between Goldman Sachs (GS) and lead plaintiff NECA-IBEW Health & Welfare Fund, as well as 400 bondholders and another electrical union pension fund. The Illinois pension fund for electrical workers brought the case in 2008, accusing the firm of leaving out key information and making false statements about the mortgages it sold into 17 trusts the year before.

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Seven big banks have resolved a U.S. lawsuit accusing them of rigging ISDAFix rates, which is the benchmark for appraising interest rate derivatives, structured debt securities, and commercial real estate mortgages, for $324M. The banks that have reached a settlement are:

· Barclays PLS (BCS) for $30M (In 2015, Barclays paid $115M to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission to resolve charges of ISDAfix rigging.)
· Bank of America Corp. (BAC) for $50M
· Credit Suisse Group AG (CS) for $50M
· Citigroup Inc. (C) for $42M
· JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) for $52M
· Deutsche Bank AG (DB) for $50M
· Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (RBS) for $50M

The deal must be approved by a Manhattan federal court. The defendants had sought to have the case dismissed, but US District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan refused their request. stating that the case raised “plausible allegations” that the defendants were involved in a conspiracy together.

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Goldman Sachs (GS) has settled a mortgage case brought by the U.S. Department of Justice accusing the firm of deceptive mortgage practices leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. As part of the deal, Goldman will pay $5.06B to resolve the charges. According to the DOJ, the bank also admitted that it issued representations that were “false and misleading” to prospective investors about the MBS that were up for sale. Details of the deal were announced in January after an agreement was reached in principal.

In a statement of facts, Goldman said that “significant percentages” of the mortgages it bundled with securities sold between ’05 and ’07 were not in line with the information provided to investors about the loans. The bank’s Mortgage Capital Committee approved every residential mortgage-backed security it assesses between December ’05 and ’07 even though they were aware that a lot of the home loans contained compliance and credit defects.

The settlement shows that Goldman was aware that a lot of the subprime loans it was packaging into securities could be defective, including an RMBS it created in ’06 using loans made by Countrywide Financial, which was the largest subprime loan provider. It was during this time that a Goldman manager issued an equity research report recommending that the stock be brought. Responding to the report, the bank’s due diligence head that had supervised the scrutiny of several Countrywide mortgage pools replied, “If only they knew.”

The government said that 70% of total loan pools were not examined for problems even though in one bond pool about 25% of loans that were examined were dropped because their quality was poor. For example, in 2006, Goldman notified investors via marketing materials that one underwriter in particular was dedicated to “quality over volume” when it came to the loans even though its own analysis determined that the underwriter, a Fremont General Corp unit, applied “off market” guidelines. In early 2007, the Fremont unit was shut down after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said that the lender allowed people who couldn’t afford to pay back the mortgages to have them anyways.

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Former Goldman Employee Fined Over $900K For SEC Insider Trading Case
Former Goldman Sachs (GS) compliance worker Yeu Han will pay over $903,000 to settle allegations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accusing him of insider trading. Han was hired by the firm to develop surveillance software to help Goldman identify illegal conduct, including insider trading and market manipulation.

According to the regulator, Han was employed in the firm’s compliance division. He had access to the emails of other Goldman employees who worked on confidential acquisition and merger deals. The SEC contends that even though Han was aware that this information was privileged and nonpublic, and that he would have to get supervisory clearance and disclose his brokerage accounts to engage in any trading, in December 2014 he started trading in the securities of a number of companies before each one publicly announced acquisition and merger news. These companies included Zulily Inc., Yodlee Inc., KLA-Tencor Corp., and Rentrak Corp.

The Commission is accusing Han of making over $468K through his personal account and more than $434K through the account of a relative. Last October, Han left the United States and went to China, where he is a citizen. In November, the SEC filed the insider trading charges against him.

Ex-Harman International VP Pleads Guilty to Insider Trading
Dennis Hamilton, a former vice president of tax at Harman International Industries Inc. has pleaded guilty to insider trading. For the one count of securities fraud, the 45-year-old faces up to 20 years behind bars—although recommended federal guidelines could help him to procure a one-to-two-year prison term instead.

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