Warren Buffett's $5 billion investment in Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was partly a bet on the "integrity" of the Wall Street firm, Ronald Olson, a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. director, said.
"When Warren and Berkshire stepped up to make this investment, it was a very strong statement of its belief, his belief, in not just the strength of Goldman but its integrity," Olson said in an interview this week with Bloomberg Television.
Goldman Sachs, the most profitable firm in Wall Street history, has been criticized for benefiting from $10 billion in bailout funds in 2008 and its role in the subprime mortgage-securities market. The bank repaid bailout funds last year and its chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, said in a letter to shareholders that he was grateful for public assistance.
Buffett's investment in Goldman Sachs preferred shares, as financial firms were shut off from their usual sources of funding in 2008, earns 10% interest.
Berkshire, of Omaha, also obtained warrants to buy $5 billion of Goldman Sachs common stock.