Mark Zuckerberg says his main goal is "to help make the world more open and transparent," which is how the Facebook CEO justified publicizing his users' private information. But when it comes to Facebook's finances, Zuckerberg has a double standard. And that's where George Lee comes in.
Earlier this year, Facebook decided it could use more investors. But it didn't want to trigger a 500 investor cap that would force it to take its shares — and financial data — public, so logically it turned to Goldman Sachs, the firm renowned for its unmatched ability to subvert the laws of the federal government and the ethics of the American political system. A Goldman "lifer" and tech industry specialist named George Lee was the executive assigned to Facebook, Business Insider revealed today. He proposed a "special investment vehicle" that would, in theory, aggregate many distinct shareholders into a single legal investor, letting Facebook have its financial privacy cake and eat it too.
Facebook had reason to think Lee knew what he was doing. In his 17 years at Goldman, he's helped blue chip tech companies like Google, Microsoft and eBay with various deals; his work earned him a spot on Forbes' "Midas List." But Goldman is under closer scrutiny these days, and Facebook's end run around federal securities law caught the attention of New Yorker writer John Cassidy. It took two weeks for Goldman's ploy to disintegrate; the shady Facebook fund was allowed to move forward with foreign investors, but American clients who had been hustled into the fund were furious at being pushed away. Still, Facebook got its money, kept its secrets, and Goldman no doubt collected its fee. Does anything else really matter, to Goldman Sachs or Facebook? No. George Lee is still a Midas, to the people who matter. Expect to see more of his "work." Look forward to it!
[Photo of Zuckerberg via Getty Images, photo of Lee via Monterey Institute of International Studies]