The Goldman Sachs Debacle

April 25, 2010

While it doesn’t seem that any criminal charges are forthcoming anytime soon, an interesting legal issue with respect to the Goldman case (and financial disclosure in general) will be for the SEC to prove that any misrepresentations made by Goldman were “material” in nature so that their investors would not otherwise have purchased these mortgage backed securities had they known the true facts. In other words, if investors knew of the conflict (or potential conflict) with Goldman client John Paulson betting against them or selecting some of Goldman’s investments to begin with, would the investors have purchased from Goldman?

Goldman’s investors were not your average run of the mill mom and pop investors. In fact, German state banks were the main investors. So it will be crucial for the SEC to establish that said misrepresentations were material or that the Goldman investors involved were unsophisticated and/or tricked and defrauded.