Goldman Sachs’ London employees received free shares, news report reveals

5 October 2010

Top executives at the London offices of Goldman Sachs have received free shares worth “tens of millions of pounds” despite moves by the government to curb the culture of banker bonuses, a news report has claimed.

According to Sky News, which cited an unnamed source close to the matter, stock was distributed among the professionals during August and received the approval of the UK’s Financial Services Authority.

The bankers will not be able to sell the shares for a minimum of five years and may be withdrawn by the financial services provider, the news provider explained.

Goldman Sachs capped pay for all London-based executives at £1 million in response to the government’s tax on bonuses.

An unknown Goldman Sachs nsider told the Guardian: "We didn't want to lose anymore of our top people; you could call the payments an unintended consequence of Labour's bonus tax."

Reports have claimed that news of the move by the bank will ignite fresh controversy over the salaries and remuneration of bankers in the wake of the global credit crisis.

The UK government introduced a 50 per cent tax on all bonuses of more than £25,000 as part of its attempts to curb what was seen by many as an ‘excessive’ bonus culture.

By Jim Ottewill

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