Goldman Sachs May Face Bribery Charge in Libya Deal

Securities regulators investigating attempt to help Gadhafi recoup money
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2011 12:10 PM CDT
Goldman Sachs headquarters is shown in New York in this May 13, 2010 file photo.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file)
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(Newser) – Securities regulators are looking into the possibility that Goldman Sachs may have broken anti-bribery laws by offering to pay Libya’s Sovereign Wealth Fund $50 million in penance for losing almost all of the money it invested with them. The deal was never actually completed, but just offering it may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bans bribes to foreign governments, state-owned companies, and yes, sovereign wealth funds and their employees, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Under the proposed deal, the $50 million would have been passed to a company run by the son-in-law of the head of Libya’s state-owned oil company. In documents related to the deal, Goldman specifically said it was contingent on compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, but one lawyer tells the Journal that such language isn’t sufficient to avoid anti-bribery prosecution. A Goldman spokesman said the company was “confident that nothing we did or proposed” broke any rules.

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