Goldman defends its collateral calls to AIG

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs said that it believed its trades with bailed-out insurer AIG during the financial crisis were accurate and its collateral calls made to AIG were reflective of the conditions in a deteriorated market.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange near the Goldman Sachs stall July 16, 2010. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

In a response submitted to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) on July 28, Goldman said it priced the collateral posted by AIG based on the best available market information at the time, including observed trades, actionable bids or offers from other parties.

Earlier in July, Goldman made similar comments to the Commission, insisting that their collateral demands were based on legitimate market prices.

At the time, Commission members questioned whether Goldman was deliberately driving down prices for its own gain.

The Commission on Monday said it was reviewing Goldman’s valuation documents and said it was too early to say whether members were satisfied with the information.

In Goldman’s report to the FCIC, the bank reiterated: “We made those collateral calls based on prices that reflected the deteriorating conditions in the market for the underlying collateral in residential mortgage backed securities and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs).

On July 23, a source told Reuters that Goldman Sachs had turned over a list of the counterparties to the FCIC following a recent hearing exploring the links between Goldman and AIG.

Goldman has long been criticized for benefiting from the U.S. taxpayer bailout of AIG. Taxpayers pledged up to $182 billion to address problems at AIG’s financial products division.

Goldman said it had also used other market information obtained through its franchise for pricing collateralized debt obligations posted by AIG.

“From July of 2007 through November of 2008 there was observable market data which provided the basis for our collateral requests to AIG,” Goldman said.

Goldman also said AIG did not have an internal pricing system to value the securities on which it sold credit protection until December 2007.

Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore and Rachelle Younglai in Washington; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter, Dave Zimmerman