By Nate Raymond
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A jury found former Goldman Sachs Group Inc vice president Fabrice Tourre liable for fraud for his role in a failed mortgage deal that cost investors $1 billion, giving the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission a big victory.
Tourre was found liable on six of seven counts by a Manhattan federal jury, in the SEC’s highest-profile trial to spill out of its investigations into causes of the 2008 financial crisis.
“We are gratified by the jury’s verdict,” said Andrew Ceresney, co-director of the regulator’s enforcement division. “We will continue to vigorously seek to hold accountable, and bring to trial when necessary, those who commit fraud on Wall Street.”
Tourre left court without talking to reporters.
The SEC had accused Tourre, 34, in a civil lawsuit with misleading investors in a product known as Abacus 2007-AC1 by failing to disclose that hedge fund billionaire John Paulson helped choose, and intended to bet against, mortgage securities underlying the 2007 deal.
It also alleged that Tourre misled ACA Capital Holdings Inc, a company also involved in selecting assets for Abacus, into believing Paulson & Co would be an equity investor in the synthetic collateralized debt obligation.
Paulson went on to make billions of dollars in 2007 betting against the U.S. housing market.
The SEC said he made about $1 billion from his short position on Abacus, while investors including ACA and IKB Deutsche Industriebank AG lost about the same amount.
Tourre is pursuing a doctorate in economics at the University of Chicago after formally parting ways with Goldman at the end of 2012.
Goldman agreed in July 2010 to pay $550 million to settle with the SEC over Abacus, without admitting or denying wrongdoing. Tourre was the only individual charged.
The case is SEC v. Tourre, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 10-03229.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond; Additional reporting by Bernard Vaughan; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)