* Greg Smith about to publish "Why I left Goldman Sachs"
* Publicly accused Goldman of ripping off clients
* Goldman says Smith was angry over status, pay and review
NEW YORK, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Just days before publication of a book promising to expose a rampant culture of greed at Goldman Sachs Group Inc, the Wall Street company is writing its own story about the book's author.
Greg Smith, a 32-year-old former derivatives salesman who in March published an explosive op-ed article in The New York Times outlining his grievances, was a low-performing and self-aggrandizing employee with an ax to grind, according to a Goldman source familiar with the firm's investigation of his charges.
The firm has been selectively leaking its version of the Smith story to the media, wary that the book, "Why I Left Goldman Sachs," will revive articles depicting Goldman as the poster child for Wall Street malevolence.
In the New York Times article, the native South African, depicted himself as an altruistic individual who increasingly felt out of tune with Wall Street culture. A spokesman at Grand Central Publishing, which will officially publish "Why I Left Goldman Sachs" on Oct. 22, did not respond to a request for comment from Smith