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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sorkin says Goldman is telling the truth about hedging

In case you don't read the New York Times' Business Section on a routine basis, on the left-hand side of page B1 today is Andrew Ross Sorkin's column, in which he reports that recently released emails demonstrate that Goldman Sachs was telling the truth when it argued that it considered itself hedged against what could have been AIG's collapse.  For months, we have heard that the government's bailout of AIG was precipitated by Hank Paulson's desire to save his former firm, Goldman, who had too much exposure to AIG.  But according to Sorkin's summary of the excerpted documents, AIG already had posted $7.5 billion in collateral, and Goldman had sought insurance hedges and collateral from over 30 banks for the remaining $2.5 billion at stake.  Although the Times previously had reported Goldman's exposure at $20 billion, Sorkin reports it at just $10 billion. (huh? big difference, no?) 

Now, would Goldman have suffered had AIG gone under?  Sure, all financial institutions would have been affected by an AIG implosion (and the stock market would have tanked even more) and Goldman, like everyone else, would have lost money.  But the argument to date has been that Goldman obtained a unique benefit from the AIG bailout, thanks to its supposed ties to government officials.  The evidence reported by Sorkin simply does not support this.

So here's my question:  Why is this story on page B1 of the Times (with some of the more important quotes buried on page B8), whereas the Times found it necessary to put this story on the front page last week?  

Posted by Miriam Baer on July 27, 2010 at 07:59 PM in Criminal Law, Culture | Permalink


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