3 May 2010 /REUTERS
Warren Buffett on Saturday launched a strong defense of Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s $5 billion investment in Goldman Sachs Group Inc and the investment bank’s embattled chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein.
Speaking at Berkshire’s annual meeting before an estimated 40,000 shareholders, Buffett’s forceful defense makes him perhaps Goldman’s most powerful defender in the wake of the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s civil fraud lawsuit on April 16 against the company. Buffett also said Berkshire swung to a $3.63 billion first-quarter profit from a year-earlier $1.53 billion loss, helped by an improving economy and gains from investments and derivatives. Operating earnings rose 30 percent to $2.22 billion from $1.71 billion, reflecting “a pretty good uptick” in business activity, he said.