Goldman subpoenaed by financial crisis commission

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group’s U.S. government ties suffered a fresh blow on Monday, as a commission probing the financial crisis subpoenaed the bank, claiming the firm had flooded the panel with 2.5 billion pages of records.

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission had asked Goldman to provide documents and grant interviews in connection with the panel’s probe.

In response, the Wall Street firm produced 5 terabytes of records, with each terabyte containing 500 million pages of digitized records, FCIC Chairman Phil Angelides told reporters on a conference call.

FCIC Vice Chairman Bill Thomas said Goldman, knowing the panel’s limited resources, had sent commission staff hunting for a needle in a haystack.

“We expect them to provide us with the needle,” Thomas said.

The FCIC called Goldman’s response “abysmal.” Angelides and Thomas said other banks had received and complied with similar FCIC requests.

Goldman spokesman Samuel Robinson said in a statement that “we have been and continue to be committed to providing the FCIC with the information they have requested.”

Goldman shares fell $3.72, or 2.6 percent, to close at $138.68 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

Goldman Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein was on a panel with three other bank chiefs that testified before the FCIC in January.

Disclosure concerns have followed Goldman in recent months. It has been criticized for not immediately telling investors that it received a so-called Wells Notice from the SEC last September, signaling the possibility of civil charges.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Goldman in April for civil fraud in connection with the structuring and sale of a $1 billion collateralized debt obligation.

The FCIC has shown a willingness to use its subpoena power. In April it issued a subpoena to Moody’s Corp, saying it had failed to comply with a request for documents and interviews in a timely manner.

The FCIC also used a subpoena to compel Warren Buffett to testify after the Berkshire Hathaway Inc chief rebuffed earlier requests to submit to voluntary questioning.

Reporting by Steve Eder; editing by John Wallace and Matthew Lewis