Legal experts will argue over who got the best deal — Goldman Sachs Group Inc. or federal regulators — in the record fraud settlement announced Thursday. But one thing seems certain — the investing public didn’t.

The lawyers at the Securities and Exchange Commission went into negotiations seeking a record penalty, perhaps as high as $1 billion, according to Wall Street reports. It also wanted Goldman to plead guilty to at least one count of failure to disclose material information to investors in one of its subprime mortgage deals, sources said.

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