Goldman Sachs executives sell $700 million in stock: report

NEW YORK Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:33pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc executives sold almost $700 million worth of stock since the collapse of rival Lehman Brothers last year, the Financial Times said on Monday.

The newspaper said that most of the stock sales took place while the biggest U.S. investment bank was bailed out by the government with $10 billion of taxpayer money, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A Goldman Sachs spokeswoman declined to comment.

Goldman executives sold stock worth $691 million between September 2008 and April 2009, more than the $438 million in stock sold between September 2007 and April 2008, when the average share price was substantially higher, the Financial Times said.

The stock sales peaked between December and February, when Goldman Sachs' shares traded near record lows, the newspaper said.

After Lehman Brothers collapse froze financial markets, Goldman Sachs was forced to convert into a bank holding company to have access to government funding, and received $10 billion of taxpayer money.

The bank also reported its first quarterly loss since going public in 1999. However, Goldman has managed to sidestep the worst of the financial crisis, which has caught rivals with much higher losses and massive asset writedowns.

Last month, the bank repaid the government the bailout funds, along with other big banks.

Analysts expect Goldman Sachs will report strong quarterly earnings on Tuesday, boosted by sold trading income and improving equity underwriting markets.

(Reporting by Juan Lagorio; Editing by Bernard Orr)