The US Justice Department said it would not prosecute the investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc over an alleged role in the mortgage crisis that touched off a global recession in 2008.
The department found "there is not a viable basis to bring a criminal prosecution with respect to Goldman Sachs or its employees," it said in a statement quoted by several news reports late Thursday.
The investigation came after a US Senate committee last year slammed the financial services giant for including investments tied to subprime mortgages in its clients' portfolios while betting its own money on the imminent collapse of the credit market.
The committee's 640-report also called on the Justice Department to take action.
Goldman Sachs has come under attack by politicians and the public in the past few years, both for its own actions and as a focus for wider criticism of the financial sector.
"We are pleased that this matter is behind us," the New York-based bank's spokesman David Wells was quoted as saying by the reports.
In July 2010, the watchdog Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) settled with Goldman Sachs for a record penalty of 550 million dollars in its own investigation into similar accusations.
The bank acknowledged at the time it had misled investors.
Earlier Thursday, Goldman Sachs said the SEC had ended another investigation into one subprime mortgage deal worth 1.3 billion dollars by the bank without further action. The regulator had said in February that it was planning a civil lawsuit in the case.
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