The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Goldman Sachs & Co. and one of its executives with fraud today in a risky offshore deal backed by subprime mortgages that cost investors more than a $1 billion.
The SEC also contends that Goldman allowed a client, Wall Street hedge fund Paulson & Co., to help select the securities. Paulson in turn bought insurance against the deal and when the securities later tanked, losing almost all of their value, Paulson made a $1 billion profit.
The civil fraud charges were the first to be filed against Goldman, the Wall Street investment banking titan at the center of multiple inquiries into the causes of the global financial meltdown.
Goldman said in a statement, "The SEC's charges are completely unfounded in law and fact and we will vigorously contest them and defend the firm and its reputation."
Paulson has acknowledged reaping a $3.7 billion profit by betting against the housing market as it nose dived in 2006 and 2007.