Goldman Sachs charged with fraud 

There have been a lot of allegations of misconduct pointed at Goldman Sachs, and even more questions about the firm staying out of trouble possibly by manipulating their extensive political connections. Well, it looks like the government might finally be bringing the hammer down:

Goldman Sachs Group Inc was charged with fraud on Friday by U.S. securities regulators in the structuring and marketing of a debt product tied to subprime mortgages.

The Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit alleges that Paulson & Co, a major hedge fund run by the billionaire John Paulson, worked with Goldman in creating the collateralized debt obligation, and stood to benefit as its value fell, costing investors more than $1 billion.

Fabrice Tourre, a Goldman vice president who the SEC said was principally responsible for creating the product, was also charged with fraud.

Paulson has not been charged. "Goldman made the representations here to the investors, Paulson did not," SEC enforcement chief Robert Khuzami said on a conference call.

Spokesmen for Goldman and Paulson had no immediate comment. Tourre could not immediately be reached.

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, marks a dramatic expansion of regulatory efforts to hold people and companies responsible for activity that contributed to the nation's financial crises. It also comes as lawmakers in Washington debate sweeping reform of financial industry regulation.

"This is big," said Walter Todd, a portfolio manager at Greenwood Capital Associates LLC. "Reputationally, obviously, it is damaging. I'm still kind of in shock."

 

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Mark Hemingway

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