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Romney's wife had 'blind trust invested in Goldman Sachs' sex trafficking fund'


April 4, 2012 - Washington

A blind trust in the name of US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's wife, was an investor in a Goldman Sachs fund that had invested in a media company, which according to critics facilitates sex trafficking.

An August 2011 financial disclosure report by the Romneys showed Ann Romney's blind trust had an investment valued between 15,001 and 50,000 dollars in Goldman's GS Capital Partners III.

According to The Daily Mail, while there is no suggestion the Romneys knew about the investment, the disclosure highlights the difficulty for politicians and their families when they invest in blind trusts that are supposed to protect them from conflicts of interest and ethical questions.

Goldman recently said that GS Capital Partners III signed a deal last Friday to sell its 16 percent stake in Village Voice Media, which owns the website Backpage.com, back to management.

Critics have claimed that Backpage.com facilitates the trafficking of underage prostitutes and sex slaves.

Andrea Saul, a spokesman for Romney, said that the funds were managed on a blind basis, 'so the trustee, not the Romneys, make their investment decisions'.

"Furthermore, the trustee invests in funds, but, as a passive investor, has no control over the funds' investments," the paper quoted Saul, as saying.

According to the paper, the original size and timing of the blind-trust investment were not disclosed, though in 2007 the Ann Romney trust reported during Mitt Romney's previous failed attempt to get nominated as Republican presidential candidate that its investment in the Goldman fund was then worth between 100,001 and 250,000 dollars.

In Ann Romney's 2010 tax return, which was made publicly available in January, the trust's investment in the Goldman fund was reported as showing a 28,226 dollars loss.

The revelation has plunged the US investment bank into fresh embarrassment over its business ethics weeks after a former executive claimed firm's bosses called clients 'muppets'.

ANI

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