How Goldman Sachs secretly bet on the housing crash
In the 1980s and '90s, Goldman Sachs Group ran a staid residential mortgage operation that simply bought and sold loans. But in 2001, the elite investment bank leaped aggressively into the burgeoning subprime securities market that was becoming a fountain of money for its rivals.
That year, Goldman Sachs sold $8.7 billion in subprime bonds, a third of its business. In 2006 and 2007, it peddled more than $40 billion in securities backed by at least 200,000 risky home mortgages.
Today, pension funds, insurance companies, labor unions and foreign financial institutions that bought those dicey mortgage securities are dealing with huge losses.
A five-month investigation by McClatchy Washington Bureau correspondent Greg Gordon shows how Goldman Sachs sold these securities to unsuspecting buyers, used offshore tax havens to market them to financial institutions worldwide and benefited from key federal bailout decisions, at least two of which involved then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, a former Goldman chief executive officer whose staff at Treasury included several other Goldman alumni.
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