RBS 'may take legal action against Goldman Sachs'

19 July 2010

Goldman Sachs' $550 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week may not be the last it hears of the fraud claims recently made against it.

The investment bank had been accused of deliberately creating a package of subprime mortgage securities which it sold on to clients without advising them that the hedge fund Paulson & Co - which helped to create the product - was betting on its failure.

While Goldman Sachs has not admitted its liability in the fraud case, it did state it "regrets" that details of Paulson & Co's involvement in the Abacus collateralized debt obligation (CDO) were not made clear.

But Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is now said to be considering legal action against the Goldman Sachs, after the British bank lost $800 million on the CDO, reports the Guardian.

A statement from the firm said: "RBS has been monitoring the complaint closely.

"Following the SEC's announcement, RBS will now carefully consider all of its options."

It added that it is also "carefully reviewing" the terms of Goldman Sachs' settlement with the SEC.

Of the $550 million fine, $300 million will go to the US Treasury with the rest being returned to investors.

German bank IKB will receive all of the $150 million it lost on the package, while RBS is to get $100 million of the $800 million it put in.

RBS was not a direct investor in Abacus, but inherited exposure to it when it took over ABN Amro, which had provided credit insurance to Goldman Sachs for ACA, a specialist firm which collapsed after helping to select the loans included in the deal.

Speaking after the fine agreement last week, Robert Khuzami, director of the SEC's enforcement division, said: "This settlement is a stark lesson to Wall Street firms that no product is too complex and no investor too sophisticated to avoid a heavy price if a firm violates the fundamental principles of honest treatment and fair dealing."

By Gary Cooper

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