Goldman Sachs spokesman Lucas van Praag is apparently way too pissed at the Times to give them any more page views. Today, he took to the Huffington Post to make a point-by-point rebuttal of Gretchen Morgenson and Louise Story's piece in the Sunday Times, headlined "Testy Conflict With Goldman Helped Push A.I.G. to Edge." "This is the third theory the paper has put forward since September 2008," van Praag sniffs in his inimitable manner. "The theories are contradictory and many of the supporting 'facts' don't stand up to serious scrutiny."
NYT assertion: "Goldman's demands for billions of dollars from the insurer helped put it in a precarious financial position by bleeding much-needed cash."
The facts: Relative to the size of AIG's overall business, Goldman Sachs was a small counterparty. We don't believe our marks were "aggressive," they reflected market prices at the time. We requested the collateral we were entitled to under the terms of our agreements. The idea that AIG collapsed because of our marks is not credible. In any event, the story later asserts that, by the spring of 2008, AIG's dispute with Goldman Sachs was just one of its many woes.
It would be better if he'd gone a bit harder on them — particularly on the inclusion of the quote from a Duke professor speculating on Goldman's "motivation" — and it would have been nice if there were a few more van Praagian flourishes, like if he had called the aforementioned quote "codswallop" — but overall, a solid debut. We hope he stays on at HuffoPo; we'd like to hear what he has to say about the Sarah Palin "retard" controversy.