No 'viable basis' to prosecute Goldman, Justice Department says

Photo of Goldman Sachs on Wall Street.

Story highlights

  • A Senate subcommittee spent two years on an investigation
  • The Justice Department says it conducted an exhaustive review of the congressional report
  • The department determines there is no basis for criminal prosecution
  • A Goldman Sachs spokesman says "We are pleased that this matter is behind us"

The Justice Department says after a "careful review" it has determined there is no basis for bringing a criminal prosecution against Goldman Sachs or its employees in regard to allegations set forth in a congressional report.

In an unsigned statement from the Justice Department issued Thursday night, it said the department conducted an exhaustive review for more than a year examining allegations in the Levin-Coburn Report.

Headed by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, the 635-page report in 2011 singled out Goldman and Deutsche Bank as examples of Wall Street firms that reaped huge profits by marketing securities backed by subprime mortgages as safe investments to clients, even as the banks bet against these very same securities.

"In my judgment, Goldman clearly misled their clients and they misled Congress," Levin told reporters on a conference call in April 2011.

The Senate subcommittee, which spent two years on the investigation, based its report on thousands of internal company documents and e-mails, as well as hundreds of interviews and congressional testimony.

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While the department concluded that the burden of proof for a prosecution could not be met, "(it) commend(s) the hard work of those involved in preparing the report and thank the Senate's Permanent Subcomittee on Investigations for its cooperation in regard to the criminal investigation."

Goldman Sachs spokesman David Wells said in a statement, "We are pleased that this matter is behind us."