25 August 2011

Goldman Sachs boss lawyers up

Will justice ever be done? This is a question U.S Investors have been asking about the recent financial crisis. Specifically, they have queried why no criminal charges have been laid against Goldman Sachs or any other investment bank whose greed and recklessness led to the crisis. They may finally be getting an answer with the news that Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, has hired one of the country's top criminal defence lawyers to help him address claims his bank misled clients in the run-up to the financial crisis and subsequently misled Congress.

Jake "Jaws" Zamansky, the hotshot U.S. attorney who spearheaded the successful pursuit of investment banks after the dotcom crash, predicts this may indicate the beginning of a series of cases against Wall Street firms. Goldman has admitted executives at the firm are expected to be interviewed by the Justice Department.

The Obama administration cannot be overly enthusiastic about pursuing Goldman Sachs, especially with an election year approaching. The company was a major contributor to Barack Obama's presidential campaign, CEO Blankfein is a frequent visitor to the White House, and a number of former Goldman executives have held senior positions in the Obama administration, including Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

Nonetheless, the Justice Department has a lot to work with, including the support of many ordinary Americans who wonder how a bunch of amoral bankers can crash the financial system, doing serious harm to millions of people, and not wind up in jail. Justice may yet triumph in this sordid story.

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