Pay close attention because this could be a record-breaking amount of mauling ever attempted by the colossus of client care as Goldman shows it does not discriminate between millionaire and billionaire Muppets. In a bizarre story in CNN Money, we are told that two billionaire 'married' executives of Marvell Technologies - MRVL (no, not the comic book though that would be spectacular) are suing Goldman for what initially appears to be a straight-forward alleged fraud of unauthorized transfer of ownership of their MRVL shares to Goldman's internal fund to enable more borrow availability for shorts (1 Corzine-ing). But the story gets better. The executives, upon the advice of another Goldman broker were advised to take levered long positions in competitor NVDA's shares (which GS was allegedly selling out of its own book - 2 Corzine-ings) only to very rapidly face significant losses when the company missed and the stock dropped notably (3 Corzine-ings). Then, GS sends the MRVL execs margin calls on that position (4 Corzine-ings) and unwilling to accept the MRVL shares as collateral due to its low share price (5 Corzine-ings), forces the former MRVL executives to sell their MRVL shares (6 Corzine-ings) to meet cash calls - all the while remembering that GS had transferred the ownership in order that they could allegedly have more of this hard-to-borrow stock to short (7 Corzine-ings). What's more, the couple's suit alleges that Goldman and a hedge fund run by Goldman were buying MRVL's shares at the same time the firm was forcing Sutardja and Dai to sell (8 Corzine-ings). Both NVDA and MRVL's shares have since more than doubled from their late 2008 lows. The couple claim they lost more than $100 million because of their forced sales and general Muppet massacre.
Do not, however, feel too bad for these two Muppets as Sutardja and Dia are not without controversy themselves. In 2008, MRVL paid a $10 million fine to settle allegations from the SEC that the company backdated the options it paid out to its executives. As part of the settlement, Dai, who was once Marvell's COO, paid a personal fine of $500,000 and was barred from being a director or officer of a publicly traded company for five years.
Silicon Valley entrepreneurs say they were mistreated by Goldman, joining other critics of the firm.
FORTUNE -- Two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs suing Goldman Sachs say the Wall Street firm mislabeled shares in the couple's brokerage account in order to be able to assist short-sellers who were betting against the company the couple founded.
The suit claims that Goldman cost the married couple $100 million by duping them into selling a portion of their Marvell shares to cover a margin loan at the height of the financial crisis. "Goldman had no legal right to lend out shares that didn't belong to the firm," says Phil Gregory of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, who is representing Sutardja and Dai. "This whole case is about Goldman trying to make Goldman look better, and my clients suffering for it."
At the time, interest from investors wanting to bet against Marvell's stock was soaring. The number of Marvell shares borrowed by short-sellers more than doubled from 16 million in mid-September 2007 to nearly 37 million by the end of January. The couple allege that by putting their shares in Goldman's name, the firm was able to lend those shares to short-sellers, allowing them to increase their bets against Marvell. Goldman also collected fees from the hedge funds and other investors who borrowed the shares.
Sutardja and Dai are not the only ones to complain about Goldman's securities lending operations. On Monday, the New York Times reported that a former hedge fund manager turned chicken farmer believes Goldman's mishandling of his trades by the firm's securities lending division caused his once successful $1.5 billion fund to collapse.
Sutardja and Dia are not without controversy themselves. In 2008, Marvell Technology paid a $10 million fine to settle allegations from the Securities and Exchange Commission that the company backdated the options it paid out to its executives. As part of the settlement, Dai, who was once Marvell's chief operating officer, paid a personal fine of $500,000 and was bared from being a director or officer of a publicly traded company for five years.
That was the same year the couple's Goldman troubles began. At a Goldman broker's suggestion, Sutardja and Dai bought shares in another technology company Nvidia (NVDA) in mid-2008, using a margin account in which their sizable holding of Marvell shares had been pledged as collateral. The couple quickly amassed a large position in Nvidia's shares. A Goldman analyst had recently begun recommending the technology company. However, according to the couple's suit, at the same time Goldman was telling Sutardja and Dai and other clients to buy Nvidia, Goldman was selling its own stake, slashing the company's investment in the technology firm by 60%.
Shortly after Sutardja and Dai purchased Nvidia shares, the stock plunged. Marvell's shares were falling as well. In late 2008, Marvell's shares dipped briefly below $5. Sutardja and Dai, according to the suit, got a call from their Goldman broker who said that they would have to sell 9 million Marvell says to cover the losses in their account. The broker, according to the suit, allegedly said stocks trading for under $5 a share could not be used as collateral for a margin account. The couple say they offered to come up with other collateral to back the margin loan, and that Marvell's shares rebounded above $5 within a few days. Nonetheless, they said they felt pressured to sell. What's more, the couple's suit alleges that Goldman and a hedge fund run by Goldman were buying Marvell's shares at the same time the firm was forcing Sutardja and Dai to sell. Both Nvidia and Marvell's shares have since more than doubled from their late 2008 lows. The couple claim they lost more than $100 million because of their force sales.
"Our claim alleges Goldman was trying to get into Marvell at the same time they were forcing my clients to sell," says Gregory. He says at the height of the financial crisis Goldman was looking for any excuse to reduce its lending in order to make its balance sheet look better to regulators and the firm's own investors. Sutardja and Dai got caught in the crossfire. "Based on the information we have, the order from New York was for the firm's brokers to close as many margin loans as possible. My clients were forced to sell even though the rational for the margin call no longer existed."