March 5, 2021

DealBook: Goldman’s Shares Tumble as Blankfein Hires Lawyer

Goldman Sachs’ chief executive, Lloyd C. Blankfein, has hired high-profile Washington defense lawyer Reid Weingarten.

News that Mr. Blankfein had hired separate legal counsel immediately raised questions across Wall Street as to whether Mr. Blankfein himself had received a subpoena in connection to the outstanding inquiries. But a person close to the matter but not authorized to speak on the record said the firm is cooperating and no executive at the firm has received an individual subpoena.

Reuters, citing an unidentified government source, earlier reported on Monday afternoon that Mr. Blankfein had hired Mr. Weingarten.

Shares of Goldman, which had been trading around $111 a share all day, fell nearly 5 percent after the Reuters report.

A Goldman spokesman told DealBook: “As is common in such situations, Mr Blankfein and other individuals who were expected to be interviewed in connection with the Justice Department’s inquiry into certain matters raised in the PSI [Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations] report hired counsel at the outset.”

Both Goldman and Mr. Blankfein are facing an array of legal actions stemming from investigations into Goldman’s role in the financial crisis.

In July 2010 the Securities and Exchange Commission reached a $550 million settlement with the bank. The regulator had accused Goldman of duping clients by selling mortgage securities that were secretly designed by a hedge fund firm to cash in on the housing market’s collapse.

Mr. Weingarten, who splits his time between Washington and New York, has represented such prominent defendants as Bernie Ebbers of WorldCom and Mike Espy, the former Agriculture secretary.

On Monday, he was in the Federal District Court in Manhattan with his client Anthony Cuti, the former chief executive of Duane Reade. A judge sentenced Mr. Cuti to three years in prison for a scheme to falsely inflate the income and reduce the expense that the drugstore chain reported. A jury convicted Mr. Cuti in June 2010.

In June, Goldman received a subpoena from the office of the Manhattan district attorney, which is also investigating Goldman’s role in the financial crisis.

The subpoena, a request for information, stemmed from a 650-page Senate report from the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, or PSI, that had indicated Goldman had misled clients about its practices related to mortgage-linked securities.

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