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Fraud*
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

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Goldman Sachs Does Not Like Some Rules

In an effort to prevent another financial crisis, the Federal Reserve would like to implement a rule seeking to limit links between banks. See the article here.  Goldman Sachs does not like the rule and is predicting all kinds of drastic scenarios about lost economic growth and increased unemployment.  Banks like to think they are indispensable but in their present TBTF form they are more a danger than a benefit to the economy.

It is the vast linkages between banks that help define the financialization of the GDP.  At present, the big banks are not interested in promoting industry and agriculture where products and services to the public reside.  Generating interest and fees and making capital gains are where their actions reside. Loans are diverted from goods and services to generating wealth for the banks themselves.  The result is the transfer of wealth upwards to the very rich.  Profit-making through financialization does not provide capital formation or raise living standards of workers.

Banks like Goldman Sachs have managed to take control of the economic, cultural and political processes of the national economy.  As financialization proceeds, banks become arbiters of policies of government, decision-makers in government departments including the Treasury and deregulators of laws that interfere with making huge profits.

Whenever Goldman Sachs gets incensed about certain rules or regulations, you can be sure they have very good reasons for doing so.  They want no limits put on their present activities which are so profitable for them and so disastrous for the rest of the population.

If one could make a law which stated that all banks must make loans available for commerce only (i.e., goods and services) and no loans for further financialization (including OTC derivatives), the world would be a better place. 

Goldman Sachs is only interested in itself:  its profits and its welfare.  Below is a reminder of how Goldman Sachs contributed to The Great Recession of 2008.  That report shows why the loopholes that Goldman Sachs suggests should never be considered and why some bank executives should have been indicted (under Sarbanes-Oxley) for contributing to the financial crisis.
Wall Street and The Financial Crisis  
Anatomy of a Financial Collapse
By Carl Levin and Tom Coburn - US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
Two case studies, involving Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, illustrate a variety of troubling practices that raise conflicts of interest and other concerns involving RMBS, CDO, CDS, and ABX related financial instruments that contributed to the financial crisis.
The Goldman Sachs case study focuses on how it used net short positions to benefit from the downturn in the mortgage market, and designed, marketed, and sold CDOs in ways that created conflicts of interest with the firm’s clients and at times led to the bank=s profiting from the same products that caused substantial losses for its clients.
From 2004 to 2008, Goldman was a major player in the U.S. mortgage market. In 2006 and 2007 alone, it designed and underwrote 93 RMBS and 27 mortgage related CDO securitizations totaling about $100 billion, bought and sold RMBS and CDO securities on behalf of its clients, and amassed its own multi-billion-dollar proprietary mortgage related holdings. In December 2006, however, when it saw evidence that the high risk mortgages underlying many RMBS and CDO securities were incurring accelerated rates of delinquency and default, Goldman quietly and abruptly reversed course.
Over the next two months, it rapidly sold off or wrote down the bulk of its existing subprime RMBS and CDO inventory, and began building a short position that would allow it to profit from the decline of the mortgage market. Throughout 2007, Goldman twice built up and cashed in sizeable mortgage related short positions. At its peak, Goldman’s net short position totaled $13.9 billion. Overall in 2007, its net short position produced record profits totaling $3.7 billion for Goldman’s Structured Products Group, which when combined with other mortgage losses, produced record net revenues of $1.2 billion for the Mortgage Department as a whole.
Throughout 2007, Goldman sold RMBS and CDO securities to its clients without disclosing its own net short position against the subprime market or its purchase of CDS contracts to gain from the loss in value of some of the very securities it was selling to its clients. The case study examines in detail four CDOs that Goldman constructed and sold called Hudson 1, Anderson, Timberwolf, and Abacus 2007-AC1. In some cases, Goldman transferred risky assets from its own inventory into these CDOs; in others, it included poor quality assets that were likely to lose value or not perform. In three of the CDOs, Hudson, Anderson and Timberwolf, Goldman took a substantial portion of the short side of the CDO, essentially betting that the assets within the CDO would fall in value or not perform. Goldman’s short position was in direct opposition to the clients to whom it was selling the CDO securities, yet it failed to disclose the size and nature of its short position while marketing the securities. While Goldman sometimes included obscure language in its marketing materials about the possibility of its taking a short position on the CDO securities it was selling, Goldman did not disclose to potential investors when it had already determined to take or had already taken short investments that would pay off if the particular security it was selling, or RMBS and CDO securities in general, performed poorly. In the case of Hudson 1, for example, Goldman took 100% of the short side of the $2 billion CDO, betting against the assets referenced in the CDO, and sold the Hudson securities to investors without disclosing its short position. When the securities lost value, Goldman made a $1.7 billion gain at the direct expense of the clients to whom it had sold the securities.
In the case of Anderson, Goldman selected a large number of poorly performing assets for the CDO, took 40% of the short position, and then marketed Anderson securities to its clients. When a client asked how Goldman “got comfortable” with the New Century loans in the CDO, Goldman personnel tried to dispel concerns about the loans, and did not disclose the firm’s own negative view of them or its short position in the CDO.
In the case of Timberwolf, Goldman sold the securities to its clients even as it knew the securities were falling in value. In some cases, Goldman knowingly sold Timberwolf securities to clients at prices above its own book values and, within days or weeks of the sale, marked down the value of the sold securities, causing its clients to incur quick losses and requiring some to post higher margin or cash collateral. Timberwolf securities lost 80% of their value within five months of being issued and today are worthless. Goldman took 36% of the short position in the CDO and made money from that  investment, but ultimately lost money when it could not sell all of the Timberwolf securities.
In the case of Abacus, Goldman did not take the short position, but allowed a hedge fund, Paulson & Co. Inc., that planned on shorting the CDO to play a major but hidden role in selecting its assets. Goldman marketed Abacus securities to its clients, knowing the CDO was designed to lose value and without disclosing the hedge fund’s asset selection role or investment objective to potential investors. Three long investors together lost about $1 billion from their Abacus investments, while the Paulson hedge fund profited by about the same amount. Today, the Abacus securities are worthless.
In the Hudson and Timberwolf CDOs, Goldman also used its role as the collateral put provider or liquidation agent to advance its financial interest to the detriment of the clients to whom it sold the CDO securities.
You can find the report here 


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