Federal prosecutors are preparing to this week announce criminal charges against the banker, Rohit Bansal, and an employee of the regulator, according to the New York Times.
Lawyers for the men, who were both fired in the wake of the leak, are said to be hammering out a deal with prosecutors. Even if they agree on the plea deal, they are likely to face up to a year in jail.
It is rare for criminal charges to be brought directly against bankers in the US, but the attorney general, Loretta Lynch, has set out new guidelines designed to ensure that more executives, bankers and other business people are held personally accountable for their actions.
Under the planned deal, Goldman would not face criminal charges but would pay a fine of as much as $50m and would be forced to admit that it failed to properly supervise Bansal.
A spokesman for Goldman said: “Upon discovering that a new junior employee had obtained confidential supervisory information from his former employer, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, we immediately began an investigation and notified the appropriate regulators, including the Federal Reserve.
“That employee and a more senior employee who failed to escalate the issue, were terminated shortly thereafter. We have zero tolerance for improper handling of confidential information. We have reviewed our policies regarding hiring from governmental institutions and have implemented changes to make them appropriately robust.”
The case highlights the dangers of a revolving door between banks and regulators. Bansal had spent seven years at the New York Fed before joining Goldman, where he advised one of the same banks he had previously regulated. Bansal received the documents from Jason Gross, a former colleague and friend at the New York Fed. Gross also faces criminal charges.
The Department of Justice and the Fed declined to comment on the case.
This article was written by Rupert Neate in New York, for theguardian.com on Monday 26th October 2015 17.13 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010