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According to the Collins English Dictionary 10th Edition fraud can be defined as: "deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage".[1] In the broadest sense, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation. Defrauding people or entities of money or valuables is a common purpose of fraud, but there have also been fraudulent "discoveries", e.g. in science, to gain prestige rather than immediate monetary gain
*As defined in Wikipedia

Monday, November 2, 2009

More on McClatchy's Goldman Sachs Expose

Naked Capitalism picks up the story and expounds on it:

"McClatchy, the only major US news organization to question the Iraq war until is was obvious to all that it was a misguided exercise in neocon hubris, has started a series on Goldman’s famed “short subprime” exercise. While the timing and overall outline are not new (as to when and allegedly why the investment bank went short), it delves into some details that have heretofore not been examined, as to how much subprime paper it dumped onto investors during this period, whether this duplicity was permissible, and what sort of damage was visited on foolhardy borrowers.

Unfortunately, for my taste, the series does not appear to be getting enough into the nitty gritty (and it indicates clearly that Goldman has successfully kept mum about the details of how it executed its short). I am keenly interested, because my understanding is that any simple subprime index short would have blown out spreads and thus been very costly to execute.

Goldman used another route….and the road, not surprisingly, was through AIG. From an e-mail over the summer:

This also points out a *VERY* good nugget re: banks who used CDOs/AIG offensively as opposed to as a hedge. This is likely what bothered me most about the AIG debacle. The trades GS had on with AIG were generally *not* super senior CDOs GS was long simply because they had
underwritten CDOs and were “stuck” with the AAA risk as a result. Rather, GS had a whole program of issuance — something they called “Abacus” — which were deals they put together with the sole purpose
of getting short subprime/CDO risk. Their sole purpose in doing the deals was to get long protection/short risk on the underlying collateral. AIG was simply the vehicle they chose to moneitze that PnL. Call me crazy, but I put the AIG counterparties in two different camps: guys like SocGen, who bought bonds in good faith and then hedged the credit risk by buying CDS from AIG, and guys like GS, who used AIG as their lottery ticket for offensively constructed trades to capitalize on mispriced subprime risk. The former, to me, seem much more deserving of a bailout than the latter…"


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