July 6, 2007 — -- The FBI is investigating anonymous threats against Goldman Sachs, the world's biggest securities firm -- but does not consider the warnings to be of "high credibility."
Handwritten letters were sent to newspapers nationwide reading: "GOLDMAN SACHS. HUNDREDS WILL DIE. WE ARE INSIDE. YOU CANNOT STOP US. A.Q.U.S.A."
The letters, written in red ink on loose-leaf paper, were all mailed from Queens, N.Y. in late June.
They were sent to nine newspapers including publications in Newark, N.J.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Boise, Idaho, the Star-Ledger of Newark reported.
Michael DuVally, a Goldman Sachs spokesman, said the firm was working closely with law enforcement authorities, but added that authorities told the firm they don't believe the threat is credible.
A federal law enforcement official familiar with the investigation told the AP that the FBI "does not assign high credibility to the threat" because of the circumstances surrounding the letters, including their brevity and the nonspecific nature of the threat. The investigator spoke on condition of anonymity.
"We are working closely with the law enforcement authorities, who tell us they don't believe the threat to be very credible," Goldman Sachs said in a statement today. "We have a broad range of security measures in place to counter all likely threats and we're monitoring the situation closely."
The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette received the letter Monday, said Bobby Wells, the newspaper's administrative assistant, and the FBI and local police department have since picked up the letter.
The Star-Ledger reported that it received one of the letters, postmarked June 27. The letter was addressed to the news department and was turned over to the FBI, according to the newspaper.
Goldman is a powerhouse in investment banking, with $37 billion in revenue last year and a profit of $9.5 billion. It hands out the biggest paychecks on Wall Street, averaging $623,418 per employee last year with individual rainmakers raking in up to $50 million, according to U.S. regulatory filings.
Goldman Sachs sent the following internal memo to its employees:
"The firm is aware that a number of local newspapers in a few places in the U.S. have received anonymous letters threatening the firm. We take any threat to the safety of our people and our business very seriously. The Office of Global Security has consulted the FBI and other relevant authorities. Authorities have informed us that they believe the threat to be of low credibility. Nevertheless, they have mounted an active investigation to try to determine the source of the letters. We have a broad range of security measures in place to counter all likely threats and we continue to monitor this situation closely. We do not view this situation as a cause for concern."
A source at Goldman who asked not to be named said that officials were satisfied with the many security provisions in place, especially in New York.