Ex-Goldman exec sues bank for $50 million, claiming cover-up
A former Goldman Sachs managing director filed a blockbuster $50 million suit against his former employer, claiming two executives at the Wall Street powerhouse tried to cover up a botched deal with a shady banker in order to deceive regulators — and then fired him when he wouldn’t play along.
Christopher Rollins, who was based in London, said Goldman undertook the cover-up in 2015, including ignoring anti-money laundering rules, so it could do business with a shady European financier.
The financier, unidentified in court papers, has a “history of legal problems,” according to the 33-page suit filed in Manhattan federal court on Thursday.
Rollins, who worked at the bank for 16 years until his termination last year, most recently as co-head of trading execution for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, claims that two senior bankers were responsible for wooing the financier — even meeting him on his 200-foot super-yacht in 2015 to win nearly $2 billion in business from him.
The financier was Lars Windhorst, a German entrepreneur, The Post has learned.
Windhorst had filed for bankruptcy in 2007 and was accused by a New York hedge fund in 2010 of stock manipulation. That suit was later dismissed, according to people familiar with the situation.
Goldman issued $1.2 billion in bonds structured by an unidentified brokerage affiliated with the financier, according to the complaint. That brokerage was Abu Dhabi Securities, people familiar with the matter told The Post.
At the center of the case is a series of trades that went bad in the financier’s London account that Goldman now claims shouldn’t have been opened, due to the client’s sketchy legal history.
While Rollins says that he was the one who made the trades, it was because he assumed that the two other senior bankers who were closer to the financier had followed all the proper procedures, he claims.
Within a year of their first meeting, however, the trades blew up and Goldman Sachs was briefly on the hook for $85 million — following press reports that their client was, in fact, deeply in debt, the suit claims.
Rollins was later asked to sign a “deliberately false” report that pinned the trades on him, and let the other two bankers, identified as Michael Daffy and John Storey, off the hook, he claims.
The report was “obviously meant to serve as a regulatory insurance policy for the firm,” Rollins claims.
In exchange for agreeing with the report, Goldman was going to allow Rollins to keep his job with a 10 percent reduction in compensation and a mark on his compliance record — amounting to a slap on the wrist, he claims.
Instead, by refusing to go along with it, Rollins — who is now CEO of brokerage BTIG’s European operations — claims the incident has hurt him professionally.
Goldman Sachs denied the accusations that Rollins made in the suit.
“The suit is without merit and we intend to vigorously contest it,” Michael DuVally, a Goldman spokesman, said in a statement.
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