SEC Examining Whether Goldman Sachs Violated Bribery Laws When Dealing with Libya’s Sovereign-Wealth Fund

According to the Wall Street Journal, the SEC is trying to figure out whether Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and a number of other financial firms were in violation of bribery laws because of the way they handled Libya’s sovereign-wealth fund. SEC enforcement lawyers are now looking at documents detailing these relationships. Several other companies have had significant interactions with the Libyan Investment Authority, including Och-Ziff Capital Management Group, JP Morgan Chase, and Carlyle Group.

The Journal says that Goldman invested over $1.33 billion from Libya’s fund in a number of trades in 2008. The investment lost over 98% of its value.

US regulators want to know about a $50M and transaction fees that Goldman Sachs said it would pay the fund in exchange for a release of liability and winding down the trades. Although the money reportedly was never handed over before violence flared up last year in Libya, this doesn’t mean that the financial firm is exempt from the federal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which does not let US companies offer (or pay) bribes to state-owned company employees or foreign government officials. The money would have gone to an outside advisory firm that was at the time run by the son-in-law of the Libyan national company.

Goldman spokesman Lucas van Praag has said that the financial firm is “confident” that it didn’t do anything that violated any regulation or rule. He noted that the company worked with outside counsel to make sure that it was in compliance with all rules.

Related Web Resources:

SEC Examining If Goldman-Libya Connection Violated Bribery Laws, Huffington Post, June 9, 2010

SEC Looks At Goldman, Others’ Dealing With Libyan Sovereign Fund, The Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2011

More Blog Posts:
Goldman Sachs Subpoenaed Over Financial Crisis, Institutional Investors Securities Blog, May 31, 2011

Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo Investments Repurchase $26.9M in Auction-Rate Securities from New Jersey Investors, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, May 25, 2011

Goldman Sachs Ordered by FINRA to Pay $650K Fine For Not Disclosing that Broker Responsible for CDO ABACUS 2007-ACI Was Target of SEC Investigation, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, November 12, 2010

Our securities fraud attorneys at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas represent institutional and individual investors in the US and abroad.