Top Firm Under Siege, Staff Too Scared To Go To Lunch

Under Siege

We didn't think Goldman staff actually did lunch (it's for wimps, right ?), but apparently they do - or at least they would do, but are afraid to, just in case someone overhears them talking about what's going on internally at the firm.

And it's all because of the 'siege' mentality that's permeating Goldman in the wake of those Senate hearings Tuesday. According to The Wall Street Journal, Goldman staff have been left 'angry' and 'discouraged' as a result of the hearings, and some are said to be 'worried their e-mail and other internal documents could be snatched by regulators and investigators'.

The newspaper says that Goldman staff have also been asked to try to keep a low profile, and to 'think carefully about the restaurants and parties they attend, and watch how they behave in public'.

Some of the firm's traders are said to have been in party mood Tuesday, however, as they headed to a New York bar to watch CEO Lloyd Blankfein testify. One Goldman employee told the Journal that the traders joked that they would knock back a shot every time Blankfein used the term 'synthetic' when talking to Senators. Those traders are probably not in such a jovial mood now.

In the meantime, Blankfein told ABC News that his firm was getting 'disproportionate treatment' over the financial crisis, 'because we surely are not the only financial firm, and I think in most of these markets we were not the largest or even a large participant compared to others'. Goldman's boss also confirmed that it had never crossed his mind to resign over the SEC fraud charges.

And CNBC reports that veteran bank analyst Richard Bove, from Rochdale Securities, remains bullish on Goldman stock. He told the TV channel: 'I think it's a $200 stock (it closed Wednesday at $157.01). I think the company's earnings are very good. I think you should own it. I think it's a tremendous opportunity'.

Finally, Bloomberg reports that former US President Bill Clinton has jumped in and commented on the Goldman affair. Speaking at a conference in Washington, Clinton said: 'I'm not sure they violated the law, but I do believe that there was no underlying merit to the transaction, and that's what we need to look at'.

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