The name Fabrice Tourre probably wasn’t widely recognized – until now. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a civil lawsuit against the Goldman Sachs broker and his employer last week for their connection to a complex financial product – known as Abacus 2007-AC1 – that was filled with equally complex and high-risk synthetic collateralized debt obligations (CDOs).
According to the SEC’s 22-page complaint, Goldman and Tourre are alleged to have knowing deceived investors when they marketed and sold Abacus. In addition, the SEC says Goldman failed to disclose that one of its clients, Paulson & Co., actually helped choose the risky securities that were packaged into Abacus. Moreover, Goldman did not disclose that Paulson, one of the world’s largest hedge funds, had bet that the value of the securities would fall, the SEC says.
Tourre was the mastermind behind the creation of Abacus, and agreed to the deal with Paulson in April 2007, the SEC claims. Regulators allege, however, that Tourre knew the market in mortgage-backed securities was about to be hit well before April 2007.
The SEC’s April 16 lawsuit against Goldman Sachs and Tourre contains a number of potentially incriminating e-mails from Tourre, one of which reads as follows:
“More and more leverage in the system. Only potential survivor, the fabulous Fab[rice Tourre]… standing in the middle of all these complex, highly leveraged, exotic trades he created without necessarily understanding all of the implications of those monstrosities!!!”
Tourre, 31, currently resides in London as executive director of Goldman Sachs International. He’s apparently worked for Goldman since 2001.