Allegations of secret passages and a CIA-staffed reputational risk department to vet new employees at Goldman Sachs

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William Cohan has written a new book about Goldman Sachs.

We haven't read it, but others have and are dribbling out interesting facts.

Among them are these:

1) Goldman has an ominous-sounding 'reputational risk' department staffed by detectives which investigates new hires

Bloomberg's review of Cohan's book makes Goldman sound both arcane and intimidating.

It claims that Cohan Goldman developed a, 'reputational risk department, staffed by former CIA operatives and private investigators," which, 'vetted new hires and policed employees who got out of line.'

More ominously, it suggests this reputational risk department created the impression that bad things would happen to employees who discredited the firm. A former Goldman trader is quoted as saying 'they' wouldn't, "come to my house and beat me up or something or kill my children." But, 'they' would: "Drag you through court or do something to screw up your life. If you did anything to hurt that firm in any way, all bets were off."

2) The Goldman Sachs building in NY contains secret doors and hidden stairways

The Telegraph's review of Cohan's book makes Goldman sound like the labyrinth on Name of the Rose.

It claims that Lloyd Blankfein was escorted by a, 'beefy security guard,' to a private dining area via a, 'secret door,' leading to a, 'hidden staircase.'

We asked Goldman to comment on the claims in Cohan's book. It declined.

Actually, all banks will seriously scrutinise your past before hiring you

In reality, Goldman's alleged CIA staffed reputational risk department may be nothing unusual.

All banks check CVs and all are obliged to run simple background checks by regulators. One ex-senior corporate financier says these checks often go deeper than merely checking the dates of previous employment.

"One bank had Kroll doing some investigations into my past," he says. "They started questioning why I said I'd lived at a particular address when I wasn't on the electoral register there. I had to point out that was American and wasn't a UK citizen at that time."

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