Goldman Sachs Offered Libya the Chance to Be Big Shareholder, WSJ Reports

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) offered Libya the opportunity to become one of its biggest shareholders two years ago, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter and Libyan and Goldman documents that it’s reviewed.

The offer of preferred shares or unsecured debt in Goldman followed the almost total loss during the financial crisis of an investment of $1.3 billion in the bank by the Libyan Investment Authority, the Middle East country’s sovereign wealth fund, the newspaper said.

Talks between Goldman and the fund continued for months during the summer of 2009, eventually coming to nothing, the Journal said.

Discussions inside Goldman about how to repair the relationship with Libya, which was furious about the loss, included Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein, David Viniar, the finance chief, and Michael Sherwood, the bank’s top executive in Europe, the newspaper said, adding that all three executives declined to comment

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