"All this, the claim says, led to Goldman establishing a relationship of “trust” with the Libyan Iinvestment Authority – set up to invest parts of the country’s vast oil wealth – which allowed the bank to make $350m (£210m) from a series of trades worth $1bn that ultimately proved worthless.
claims that the bank took advantage of an unsophisticated and poorly
trained body of staff at a time when Libya was being brought back into
the international fold and sanctions had been eased... The trades soon went wrong and they were in essence worthless by the middle of 2008." - Gifts, perks and Moroccan luxury: How Goldman Sachs "won over Libyans", Independent
It's tempting to find hilarity in this tellingly unsurprising scam and indeed, the Beast has already done so - ho ho, the naked criminality of international finance achieving in months what it took militaries, sanctions and an actual uprising decades to achieve. The miracle of the markets, booyah!
Certainly, it's hard to imagine a more ironic tale - a vicious, backward regime founded on theft and murder, finally eviscerated by an encounter with the sheer fraudulence and avarice of modern capitalism. A wide-eyed tyranny emerges blinking into the light of modernity, only to be instantly devoured by the Big Bad Wolf along with grandma, Little Red Riding Hood and the Woodcutter.
If you'll forgive the Simpsons reference though, all I hear in this latest revelation is an echo of that drive-in movie, The Monster That Ate Everybody:
"It ate America?"
"It ate everybody".
"It ate Greece?"
"It ate everybody".
"Surely not Colonel Gadaffi?"
Of course, as the Beast observes, you could say that "Goldman rescued Libya", although this is an odd way of putting it. After all, the new Libyan government could probably do with some cash. What's Goldman's attitude to that suggestion?
"Goldman said last night: “We think the claims are without merit and will
defend them vigorously.” It is expected to argue that it was not acting
in a fiduciary capacity with respect to the LIA and that the authority
approached it with trades, not the other way round."
Awesome. I'm reminded of a jokey suggestion I once made, about how we should get rid of our pigeon problem by releasing platoons of Komodo dragons onto the streets of Edinburgh.