NEW YORK (
is in trouble again.
Goldman has already been subjected to shareholder lawsuits for failing to tell investors that it received a so-called Wells Notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission, indicating the regulator plans to bring
an enforcement action
against the company. When the SEC followed up with civil fraud charges April 16, it knocked some 13% off Goldman's share price.
In the latest negative news for Goldman,
reported Tuesday that the bank told Calpers, the giant California pension fund, that it was not "the target of a formal investigation," six months after receiving the Wells notice. Goldman's statement came on a March 18 application to advise Calpers on its real estate investments.
The matter may be small in relation to the larger civil fraud case, and a pending criminal investigation of Goldman and other banks including
, according to reports by
The Wall Street Journal
and other news organizations.
Goldman would seem to have a weaker argument in the case concerning Calpers. The bank has said it did not disclose the Wells Notice in regulatory filings because it did not believe it was material to investors. That may be debatable, but it seems harder to explain your way out of telling a potential client you are not the target of a formal investigation, when, in fact, you are.
stated the information from Goldman "was not submitted under oath," which suggests damages related to the Calpers application may be minimal, at least from a strictly legal point of view.
Still, it represents another hit to the bank's reputation, although investors seemed to be taking the news in stride with the stock down less than 1% late in Tuesday's session. Maybe the market figures anything short of Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein being led away in handcuffs is already largely priced into the shares.
Written by Dan Freed in New York