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SEC Slaps Goldman Sachs With Fraud Suit

In a move that may signal the beginning of the end of Goldman Sachs’ golden era, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil suit Friday against the banking behemoth, accusing the company of selling customers subprime mortgage derivatives that Goldman’s own financial masterminds bet against — for profit, of course. –KA

The New York Times:

The move marks the first time that regulators have taken action against a Wall Street deal that helped investors capitalize on the collapse of the housing market. Goldman itself profited by betting against the very mortgage investments that it sold to its customers.

The suit also named Fabrice Tourre, a vice president at Goldman who helped create and sell the investment.

In a statement, Goldman called the S.E.C. accusations “completely unfounded in law and fact” and said the firm would “vigorously contest them and defend the firm and its reputation.”

The instrument in the S.E.C. case, called Abacus 2007-AC1, was one of 25 deals that Goldman created so the bank and select clients could bet against the housing market. Those deals, which were the subject of an article in The New York Times in December, initially protected Goldman from losses when the mortgage market disintegrated and later yielded profits for the bank.

As the Abacus deals plunged in value, Goldman and certain hedge funds made money on their negative bets, while the Goldman clients who bought the $10.9 billion in investments lost billions of dollars.

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