Is the Goldman Sachs CEO facing a new lawsuit?
The market seems to think so. Goldman Sachs just tanked in minutes before the close after news that Lloyd Blankfein hired a lawyer famous for defending vilified execs. It’s back up a bit since dropping over 5%, but the news is still concerning.
It’s unclear whether the lawyer is for him, Goldman Sachs, or both, but Goldman Sachs’s CEO Lloyd Blankfein hired Reid Weingarten, a high profile defence attorney who says “I’m used to these monstrously difficult cases where everybody hates my clients,” according to Reuters.
Reuters says the hire might have something to do with accusations of Blankfein’s committing perjury. Or something else:
One former federal prosecutor, who was not authorised to speak publicly, said Blankfein may have hired outside counsel after receiving a request from investigators for documents or other information.
A snapshot of Weingarten’s resume:
- Defending Bernard Ebbers, the former chief of WorldCom who was accused of conspiracy
- Defending Roman Polanski
- Defending former Enron chief accountant Richard Causey
- Defending the ousted Tyco International counsel Mark Belnick
- Defending the former Rite Aid Corp. exec Franklin C. Brown
What else could this mean? It could be no big deal at all. Blankfein might simply want outside counsel for advice. Goldman might be paying for the lawyer. It’s no secret that Goldman and Blankfein are facing a number of lawsuits. Or it could say something about Blankfein’s future at Goldman.
UPDATE: Goldman says Blankfein hired the lawyer in conjunction with the DOJ lawsuit, according to CNBC’s Kate Kelly. The firm also said it’s common for a CEO who’s about to be interviewed to hire counsel.