Goldman Sachs 'greedy' executives swear: We did nothing wrong

CONDEMNED by US politicians for "unbridled greed", Goldman Sachs executives unflinchingly defended their conduct yesterday and denied that the huge Wall Street investment bank helped to cause the near-meltdown of the internatrional financial system.

During hours of evidence to a Senate investigative subcommittee, present and former Goldman officials disputed, sometimes testily, the Securities and Exchange Commission's recent fraud allegations against the company.

They strongly denied that the firm cashed in on the housing crash by crafting a strategy to bet against home loan securities while misleading its investors.

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Investors seemed unimpressed by the tough talk at the Capitol: Goldman's stock rose 1.01 dollars per share, to 153.04 dollars, yesterday, a day in which the Dow Jones industrials suffered their worst fall in nearly three months, down 213 points.

"We did not cause the financial crisis… I do not think that we did anything wrong," said Michael Swenson, who runs Goldman's structured products group trading.

Chief executive Mr Lloyd Blankfein said in his prepared testimony that Goldman did not bet against its clients – and could not survive without their trust.

"We didn't have a massive short against the housing market, and we certainly did not bet against our clients," Mr Blankfein said. "Rather, we believe that we managed our risk as our shareholders and our regulators would expect."

Goldman has fought back against the fraud charges with a public relations blitz.