Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank have received subpoenas from a Senate committee that’s probing whether they committed fraud in connection to last year’s financial collapse, the Wall Street Journal reports (sub. req.).
The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Carl Levin, is said to be looking into whether those firms, and perhaps others, had private doubts about the mortgage-backed securities they were putting together, despite their rosy public pronouncements about the complex products.
This is serious stuff. As we’ve told you, both the Justice Department and a House committee are investigating similar charges in connection to AIG, whose executives told investors as late as December 2007 that the company was not significantly exposed to the collapse of the subprime mortgage market. Knowingly lying to investors about such questions can potentially constitute criminal securities fraud. Both Goldman and Deutsche Bank had billions exposed to AIG’s disastrous credit default swaps, and were ultimately made whole, indirectly, through AIG’s bailouts.
Goldman has been in Congress’s crosshairs lately. As the Journal notes, ten lawmakers recently sent a letter to Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, suggesting that the Wall Street behemoth is being given too free a rein to make risky investments once again.