America’s leading investment bank, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, has agreed to pay $5.06 billion to settle the Federal charges brought up against it by the U.S. Department of Justice for deceptive mortgaging practices in the run-up to the housing bubble that preceded the global financial crisis.
The charges said Goldman misled mortgage bond investors during the financial crisis. However, the deal announced on Monday puts a pause to the probes into the sale of shoddy mortgages just before the housing bubble and economic meltdown.
“This resolution holds Goldman Sachs accountable for its serious misconduct in falsely assuring investors that securities it sold were backed by sound mortgages when it knew that they were full of mortgages that were likely to fail,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery in a statement.
The Justice Department said Goldman admitted in the settlement that it made “false and misleading representations to prospective investors” about the mortgage-backed securities it sold, reports Reuters.
The settlement has a component of $2.385 billion in a civil penalty and $1.8 billion in other relief.
The DoJ made clear that the settlement does not dilute the government’s authority in framing criminal charges against Goldman or concerned individuals regarding breach of liability.
“We are pleased to put these legacy matters behind us,” a Goldman spokesman said in a statement.
“Since the financial crisis, we have taken significant steps to strengthen our culture, reinforce our commitment to our clients, and ensure our governance processes are robust,” he claimed.
The Justice Department cited many cases of Goldman’s deficient securities sold to customers while knowing that many of the subprime loans it packed as securities were potentially deficient, reports SBS News. It made specific mention of subprime loans of Countrywide Financial in 2006 that were converted into securities as a case in point.
Goldman will also be required to pay $875 million to resolve the claims raised by the New York and Illinois attorneys, according to the National Credit Union Administration and the Federal Home Loan Banks of Chicago and Seattle.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said a state and the federal working group had investigated wrongdoing by banks in the pre-financial crisis mortgage-backed securities market.
Since 2012, the group clinched settlements with J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank and Morgan Stanley.