There was considerable skepticism that the SEC would be successful in its civil fraud case against Fabrice Tourre in connection with the sale of a synthetic collateralised debt obligation.
The New York Times reports that after suffering defeats, or at least significant setbacks, in other fraud actions arising from the financial crisis, many viewed the SEC's chances about as favorably as New York Jets fans feel about the quarterback Mark Sanchez.
The jury’s verdict holding Tourre liable on six of the seven charges in the complaint may not be a ringing endorsement of how the government has pursued cases since the meltdown, but the court victory surely comes as a huge relief to the SEC's enforcement division. And that result is all the sweeter because the agency faced a defense team financed by Goldman, which still had a stake in the outcome despite its earlier $550 million settlement.
Floyd Norris compared the CDO to betting on the outcome of a football game, and like a sporting contest, the question in Tourre’s case may well focus not so much on how the SEC won but whether his lawyers lost it.
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