US banking giant Goldman Sachs said Monday its top executive Lloyd Blankfein had retained a private lawyer in connection with a US Senate investigation into the mortgage meltdown and the global financial crisis.

The company said the chief executive and chairman had his own lawyer to deal with the possibility of Justice Department questioning in the wake of a report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

"As is common in such situations, Mr Blankfein and other individuals who were expected to be interviewed in connection with the Justice Department's inquiry into certain matters raised in the PSI report hired counsel at the outset," the bank said in an email to AFP.

The Wall Street Journal said Blankfein had retained noted defense lawyer Reid Weingarten, who represented top executives at WorldCom and Enron.

The Journal said the Senate referred some matters in its probe to the Justice Department.

Goldman paid $550 million last year to settle a Securities and Exchange Commission probe into deceptive practices in the mortgage securities market.