Goldman and U.S. Met on Financing of Terrorism ; Documents Show Session in 2010 Sought to Prevent Global Money Laundering

By Matthew Goldstein; Nathaniel Popper | International New York Times, June 5, 2015 | Go to article overview

Goldman and U.S. Met on Financing of Terrorism ; Documents Show Session in 2010 Sought to Prevent Global Money Laundering


Matthew Goldstein; Nathaniel Popper, International New York Times


The session dealt only in sounding out the firm on ways to combat money laundering and did not deal with Goldman's role in the mortgage financing crisis

In early 2010, with the financial crisis still reverberating through the economy, a top United States Justice Department official arranged a meeting with executives from Goldman Sachs and some of his prosecutors, a document shows.

But the hourlong meeting at the Justice Department in Washington had nothing to do with the financial crisis or with Goldman's role in marketing securities backed by mortgage loans made to borrowers with shaky credit histories, said a person briefed on the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Instead, the gathering, organized by Lanny A. Breuer, then the assistant attorney general for the criminal division, focused exclusively on the subject of terrorism financing. Several people from the general counsel's office at Goldman attended the March 5, 2010, meeting, including David N. Lawrence, who at the time was global head of the company's business intelligence group.

Mr. Breuer arranged the meeting to sound out Mr. Lawrence's views on how best to combat terrorism financing, given his experience in working with Wall Street banks to develop systems to prevent money laundering, the person briefed on the matter said.

The email invitation for the meeting surfaced as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request to review Mr. Breuer's electronic calendar. The agency was asked for a list of meetings between him and representatives of Goldman, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and the American International Group -- institutions that played significant roles in the occurrences leading up to the financial crisis.

The Justice Department's Freedom of Information Office said that after a five-month search, it could find no other recorded meeting between the assistant attorney general and representatives from those big financial institutions. It is possible the search overlooked meetings that did not contain search terms identifying participants as members of those banks.

The meeting with the Goldman representatives may revive questions about the Justice Department's priorities after the financial crisis. Mr. Breuer's tenure, which ended in early 2013, was marked by criticism that prosecutors working for him did not file criminal charges against prominent Wall Street bankers in connection with the crisis. …

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