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Will Goldman Try to Get Off on a Technicality?

This makes sense. The "intent" element of fraud is very hard to prove, but negligence or failure to disclose what should have been disclosed doesn’t require proof of fraudulent intent, it just requires a lack of disclose – a much easier case.- Ilene 

Will Goldman Try to Get Off on a Technicality?

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

John Carney seems to think so (via CNBC):

The SEC accused Goldman with violating Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Section 17(a) of the Securities Act. Both are anti-fraud provisions. Like most anti-fraud statutes, Section 10(b) requires the government to prove a fraudulent intent. The first subsection of Section 17(a) also requires proof of fraudulent intent. But the second and third subsections of 17(a) do not require any proof of intent to defraud. This makes accusations based on the second and third subsections much easier to prove—and perhaps easier for Goldman to stomach.

In fact, subsection 17(a)(2) does not even employ any form of the word “fraud” or “deceit.” It makes the sale of a security or a derivative unlawful if a material omission renders the sale merely “misleading.”

The SEC’s claim against Goldman based on this subsection is its strongest and easiest to prove.

Goldman might accept a settlement if the civil charges requiring fraudulent intent or claiming a scheme that operated as fraud were dropped, a source said. That would leave open the charge of merely negligently “misleading” the investors in the Abacus deal. A source close to the matter indicated that this would be far more palatable to the company since it does not explicitly implicate Goldman in fraud.

But if it’s outright fraud Goldman won’t try to weasel out with a settlement? Suuuure, I buy that. Wouldn’t want to taint their pristine, almost divine reputation now would we? 

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Unions Lead March Against Big Banks In Chicago

See also John Carney’s article:

Goldman Sachs Spies A Way Out Of Fraud Claims

The two sides are still far apart. Goldman Sachs is unwilling to enter into the typical Wall Street settlement—paying a fine and agreeing not to commit further violations, while neither admitting nor denying the accusations—because it insists on denying that it intentionally committed fraud, sources familiar with the matter say. The SEC has accused Goldman of fraud under both the Securities Act of 1933 and Exchange Act of 1934 and is unwilling to abandon those claims for lesser offenses, those sources say.

Goldman is wary of settling any case while the accusation of fraud is outstanding. Part of this wariness is rooted in the reputational damage that could come from seeming to give up resisting the fraud accusation. More importantly, the company is concerned about the host of private class-action lawsuits that would surely follow any SEC settlement.


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