"One would have thought, especially given the public statement that the SEC's initial litigation signified that they would not have settled had they thought they had a strong enough case against Goldman to win on the civil standard. That gives me some reason to doubt the ability of a federal prosecutor to win a case against Goldman except for the possibility that new evidence has emerged," Mitchell says.
The Wall Street Journal
noted in its article breaking the news of the investigation that Goldman already "turned over hundreds of millions of pages of documents to the Federal Crisis Inquiry Commission," suggesting it might be difficult to find new evidence.
However, former SEC enforcement chief Sporkin notes the FCIC wasn't pursuing a criminal investigation, and says the subpoenas can be more targeted in their search.
He also argues the SEC settlement should be seen as a victory by the regulator.
"Of course it's a victory. Are you kidding? Taking on an issue of that kind and going against the number one investment banking firm in the world and then coming out ahead after the defendant had said there was no case and they weren't going to concede? Anybody who tells you it's anything less than that-- I don't know what they're smoking."
Written by Dan Freed in New York