“Next Monday, in a courtroom in downtown Manhattan, the Securities and Exchange Commission will begin what is likely to be its most prominent case stemming from the financial crisis: its case against Fabrice Tourre, a former Goldman Sachs trader who is accused of misleading clients by selling a mortgage securities investment that the government said was designed to fail.
Mr. Tourre, as you might remember, was a 28-year-old French banker who wrote this gem of an e-mail to his girlfriend in 2007, which was widely quoted several years ago: ‘The whole building is about to collapse anytime now,’ he explained to her about the markets. ‘Only potential survivor, the fabulous Fab,’ he continued, not so humbly referring to himself, ‘standing in the middle of all these complex, highly leveraged, exotic trades he created without necessarily understanding all of the implications.’
Goldman Sachs paid $550 million to settle the case in 2010 without admitting or denying guilt. Mr. Tourre, however, turned down an offer to settle. He wanted his day in court. And now that day has come. The trial is seen within the S.E.C. and on Wall Street as a referendum on Goldman Sachs and the government’s case, which was never argued in front of a jury.
But the jury may never hear the full account if the S.E.C. gets its way”
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