Goldman Sachs may be rigging more than markets

Section:

Goldman Sachs Faces 'Robin Hood tax' Vote-Rigging Claims

By Rupert Neate
The Telegraph, London
Thursday, February 11, 2010

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/7217200/...

Goldman Sachs is investigating claims that one of its computers was used to rig a public vote on the introduction of a so-called "Robin Hood tax" on bankers.

The Robin Hood Tax campaign alleged that a Goldman computer was one of two computers that allegedly "spammed" the Internet poll with more than 3,600 "no" votes in less than 20 minutes on Thursday.

Technical staff for the Robinhoodtax.org.uk website said the "no" counter increased at a "dramatic rate" from 3.41pm.

The number of "no" votes jumped from 1,400 to 6,000 before campaigners -- who are calling for the introduction of 0.05 percent tax on banking transactions -- tightened the site’s security.

Robin Hood's security team claimed it traced the erroneous votes to two computers, one of which is allegedly registered as belonging to Goldman.

A spokesman for Goldman said the bank had "just received this information and is investigating fully."

After being flooded with concerned messages from Facebook and Twitter users, the website displayed the following message: "For all those who have noticed something strange happening on the vote, please don’t worry. Someone is playing games. But at lunchtime we posted a spy in a high tree and are working to catch the culprit. The count has been reset to remove these false votes and our guards are now back on the gate. Please keep voting (fair) people."

By 8pm on Thursday the "yes" vote had a substantial lead on the "no" camp, with 21,300 votes compared with 2,600.

The campaign has attracted a string of celebrity endorsements, including Four Weddings and a Funeral writer Richard Curtis and Love Actually actor Bill Nighy.

The campaign, supported by groups including Barnado's, the RSPB, the NUT and the Unite union, claims the tax -- which is based on Nobel Laureate economist James Tobin's idea from 1972 -- could generate L255 billion worldwide a year.

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