Goldman Sachs Group Inc
Goldman answered reporters' questions on a conference call seeking to clear up what it called misperceptions about its trading relationship with AIG. The insurer since mid-September received as much as $180 billion in government support to avoid collapse stemming from its exposure to crumbling debt markets.
The bank has come under fire amid revelations that $90 billion of those funds were funneled quickly to AIG's trading counterparties, which were bought out at nearly face value.
We don't think we did anything wrong, Viniar said. We had commercial terms. It is our responsibility to our shareholders to make sure that we are protecting ourselves.
Goldman was the largest single beneficiary, receiving $12.9 billion between mid-September and the end of December.
Viniar told reporters these trades were commercial contracts and that AIG was obligated to make good.
That's why we enter into these contracts. That's why we have collateral terms in the first place, to make sure that we are protected. And all we did was call for the collateral that was due to us under the contracts, Viniar said. I don't think there's any guilt whatsoever.
Goldman reiterated it would not have been hurt by AIG's failure because its exposure was either fully collateralized or hedged. Viniar also stressed that Goldman had no direct exposure to AIG as a result, though he added that an AIG failure would have disrupted the world's financial markets and likely cause indirect harm.
(Additional reporting by Lilla Zuill, editing by Matthew Lewis)