Warren Buffett: ‘$5bn investment in Goldman Sachs was a bet on the economy’

14 February 2011

Warren Buffett’s $5 billion investment in Goldman Sachs during the financial crisis was a bet that the authorities would prop up the ailing economy, the billionaire business man has claimed.

In an interview with the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), the investor said that he knew key figures in charge of US financial policy would do what they could to ensure the financial system did not collapse.

Mr Buffet, who was quoted by Bloomberg, said: “It was a bet essentially on the fact that the government would not really shirk its responsibility at a time like that to leverage up at a time when the rest of the world was trying to deleverage.

“I made the fundamental decision that we had the right people, in [Ben] Bernanke, [chairman of the Federal Reserve] and [Henry] Paulson,[then-Treasury Department Secretary] and there with a president that would back them.”

The investor acquired preferred stock in Goldman Sachs during 2008, an investment which provides him with an annual ten per cent dividend.

As much as $700 billion was provided to banks and firms working within the financial services industry as part of the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.

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