Warren Buffett is defending Goldman Sachs before shareholders at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha, saying, "It's hard for me to get terribly sympathetic" with the alleged victim in the SEC's case against the Wall Street giant.
He began his marathon 5-hour (excluding lunch break) question-and-answer session with a lengthy explanation of the Goldman transaction at the center of the SEC's fraud allegations against the firm, using a Berkshire deal involving Lehman as an example.
While he concedes the SEC's accusations have "hurt" Goldman's reputation, he does not "hold against Goldman" the fact that it has been sued by the SEC. The Justice Department has also opened a criminal inquiry into Goldman's trading.
Buffett says it shouldn't matter who is on the other side of a deal, and adds it's "hard for me to get terribly sympathetic" for ABN Amro, the firm identified by the SEC as the victim in the Goldman case.