A former Goldman Sachs trader thinks that his $8.25 million bonus was too low for the services that he provided to the company. Part of these services included a self-evaluation that seemed to indict the company for deceptive trading practices during the housing crisis of 2008. Could this have been the reason that his bonus for 2010 was so “low”? The trader, 35 year old Deeb Amin Salem, was one of the top performers for Goldman Sachs during his relatively brief tenure with the company. Some of his previous bonuses, including a 2009 bonus of $15 million, actually outpaced the bonuses that were given to the CEO of the company, Lloyd Blankfein, as reported by Bloomberg.
Although the self evaluation report in question was written back in 2007, it was not actually made public until a Senate hearing in 2011, which would have coincided with a punishment for “squealing” on the company. In the middle of the mortgage meltdown, he wrote that the company was remaining very negative on the sub prime market. However, as the market was trading incredibly short, a squeeze was inevitable. The company began, he writes, to actually encourage that squeeze. After shorts capitulated, Goldman Sachs would then go short and pick up the profits that were left behind by traders without the financial resources to wait out the turn.
Salem quickly rose to prominence withing Goldman Sachs after graduating from Princeton in 2001. He became the head trader of the Goldman Sachs structured project group. He was in this position during the mortgage crisis. After the Salem report became public in the Senate panel hearing, Salem received only $3 million as a bonus in 2011. This dip in payment caused him to leave the company for a hedge fund, where he currently works. Salem is currently seeking over $16 million in restitution. Goldman Sachs flatly denies any wrongdoing.