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Indo-American Banker To Plead Guilty In Regulatory Leak Case

NEW YORK – In a rare criminal action on Wall Street, an Indo-American former Goldman Sachs banker, suspected of taking confidential documents from a source inside the government, has agreed to plead guilty, a media report said on Tuesday.

Rohit Bansal and his source Jason Gross, who at the time of the leak was an employee at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, will accept a plea deal from federal prosecutors under which they could go to prison for up to a year, the New York Times reported.

Federal prosecutors are preparing to this week announce criminal charges against the banker, Rohit Bansal, and an employee of the regulator Gross.

“The outcome partly reflects their low-level rank on Wall Street. Bansal, who was 29 at the time, was an associate at Goldman,” the report said.

The Federal Reserve is also expected to permanently bar Bansal from the banking industry, the report quoted a person briefed on the matter as saying.

The report said that it is “rare” for a Wall Street banker to face criminal charges. Not a single Wall Street chief executive was charged after the financial crisis even as bankers or traders have faced charged in a few investigations.

Under a tentative deal with New York State’s financial regulator, Goldman is expected to pay a 50 million dollar fine and face new restrictions on how it handled delicate regulatory information.

The settlement would also force Goldman to take the rare step of acknowledging that it failed to adequately supervise Bansal “thrusting the bank back into the spotlight just as it was beginning to overcome a popular image as a firm willing to cut corners to turn a profit,” it said.

In a statement, a Goldman spokesman said that the banker worked for the firm for less than three months, and that the bank “immediately began an investigation and notified the appropriate regulators” once it detected the leak.

Bansal had previously spent seven years as a regulator at the New York Fed and after he joined Goldman in July 2014, he was assigned to advise one of the banks he previously regulated, a midsize bank in New York, the report said.

It alleged that soon Bansal received government information about that bank from Gross, a former colleague who was still working at the New York Fed.

In addition to the fine and the admission that it failed to supervise Bansal, Goldman will accept a three-year suspension from conducting certain consulting deals with banks in New York State.

When Bansal left the Fed to join Goldman, he was the “central point of contact” for certain banks.

At Goldman, he joined a unit within the investment bank that advises other financial institutions on mergers and other deals, a role that presented him with a potential conflict of interest, the report said.

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