Saturday 17 March 2018

Goldman hearings told of 'smart' AIB

Emmet Oliver

AIB may have lost a staggering €7.2bn on property loans in just two years, but according to Goldman Sachs its staff are among the smartest in the world when it comes to avoiding a bad investment.

The bank, led by Colm Doherty, was this week namechecked by Goldman Sachs executives during congressional hearings into Goldman's role in the financial crisis.

During the hearings one email sent by a Goldman salesman was read out and it described AIB staff as being "too smart to buy this junk".

The junk in question was a sub-prime mortgage product being put together by Goldman Sachs and offered to European banks. Daniel Sparks, the former head of the Goldman mortgage department, said he disagreed with the description "junk", but didn't give his view on the smartness or otherwise of AIB.

The disclosure that AIB was offered some of the products by Goldman Sachs arose during the cross-examination of Mr Sparks by Senator Carl Levin.

"I didn't believe it was junk. We didn't believe it was a junk. A salesperson said that,'' Mr Sparks said.

"Yes, if a salesperson believed it was junk, you were selling junk," Mr Levin replied.

Mr Levin also referred to a January 31, 2007 e-mail, in which Sparks complimented two Goldman employees on "what a great job they did".

He said that they travelled the world and "worked their tails off to make some lemonade from some big old lemons.''

Responding to Mr Sparks's comment that he had no regrets about his personal actions, Levin angrily said "You don't have regrets? You ought to have plenty of regrets."

Irish Independent

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