Goldman Sachs Group Inc could have suffered dramatic losses if the federal government had not intervened to prop up American International Group Inc , according to a government report.
The report by the special inspector general for the government bailout program raises doubts about Goldman's previous claims that it was hedged against potential AIG losses.
Last fall, as the financial services industry stood on the brink of collapse, the government stepped in with an unprecedented effort to rescue the system. AIG was among the companies that received billions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program.
If AIG had collapsed, it would have made it difficult for Goldman to liquidate its trading positions with AIG, even at discounts, the report said. It also would have put pressure on other counterparties that might have made it difficult for Goldman Sachs to collect on the credit protection it had purchased against an AIG default.
Finally, the report said, an AIG default would have forced Goldman Sachs to bear the risk of declines in the value of billions of dollars in collateralized debt obligations.
A Goldman spokesman called the risks discussed in the report a moot point.
Goldman Sachs has consistently said its exposure with AIG was collateralized and hedged and therefore we had no direct credit exposure, Goldman Spokesman Michael DuVally said. Given the hedges, collateral, and government backing as a result of the bailout, the additional risks of declining market values in the event of an AIG default are a moot point.
AIG has received pledges of up to $180 billion in taxpayer aid since last fall to help save it from collapse. It was revealed in March that Goldman received $12.9 billion in payments and collateral from AIG.
David Viniar, Goldman's chief financial officer, in March told reporters that the Wall Street bank did nothing wrong when it accepted payments to close out trades with AIG.
The full report can be viewed at: http://www.sigtarp.gov/reports/audit/2009/Factors_Affecting_Efforts_to_Limit_Payments_to_AIG_Counterparties.pdf
(Reporting by Steve Eder; editing by John Wallace and Tim Dobbyn)