Goldman’s Hand in AIG’s Collapse
Posted on Feb 6, 2010
Recently disclosed internal documents and an audio recording regarding a 2008 securities standoff between Goldman Sachs and insurance giant AIG appear to be the smoking guns necessary to pinpoint Goldman’s culpability in the mortgage meltdown and the collapse of AIG. —JCL
The New York Times:
Billions of dollars were at stake when 21 executives of Goldman Sachs and the American International Group convened a conference call on Jan. 28, 2008, to try to resolve a rancorous dispute that had been escalating for months.
A.I.G. had long insured complex mortgage securities owned by Goldman and other firms against possible defaults. With the housing crisis deepening, A.I.G., once the world’s biggest insurer, had already paid Goldman $2 billion to cover losses the bank said it might suffer.
A.I.G. executives wanted some of its money back, insisting that Goldman — like a homeowner overestimating the damages in a storm to get a bigger insurance payment — had inflated the potential losses. Goldman countered that it was owed even more, while also resisting consulting with third parties to help estimate a value for the securities.
After more than an hour of debate, the two sides on the call signed off with nothing settled, according to internal A.I.G. documents and an audio recording reviewed by The New York Times.
AP / Mark Lennihan
Lloyd Blankfein, right, CEO of Goldman Sachs during the recently revealed standoff, leaves the New York Stock Exchange after attending a panel discussion in 2008.