Thursday, August 01, 2013

About that Old Hard Drive

Today, the WSJ reports that a federal jury found GoldmanSachs trader Fabrici Tourre "liable for misleading investors in a mortgage-linked deal that collapsed during the financial crisis, delivering a historic win for a U.S. regulator [the SEC] eager to prove its mettle inside the courtroom."

According to the WSJ article, smoking guns included emails Tourre sent to his girl friend:

Several emails from Mr. Tourre to his girlfriend, Marine Serres, a Goldman saleswoman at the firm's London office, revealed that Mr. Tourre shared some pessimism about the market.

At his trial, Mr. Tourre translated what he wrote, partly in French, to Ms. Serres: "The entire building is at risk of collapse at any moment. Only potential survivor, the fabulous Fab (as Mitch would kindly call me, even though there is nothing fabulous about me…) standing in the middle of all these complex, highly leveraged, exotic trades he created without necessarily understanding all the implications of these monstrosities."

Mr. Tourre called the note a "silly romantic email to my girlfriend, sent as I was very stressed that day," and said it was referencing a newspaper article he had forwarded to Ms. Serres.

How the government got those emails and others are the subject of this post by Bianca Boscar of the Huffington Post:

Fabrice Tourre (a.k.a. the "Fabulous Fab"), the Goldman Sachs mortgage trader who has become synonymous with Wall Street shenanigans, has now become synonymous with something else: the worst possible way to dispose of an old computer.

Among the more titillating passages in a front-page New York Times expose about Tourre's private correspondence with his lawyers is a disclaimer that the newspaper obtained his e-mails via a computer someone found "discarded in a garbage area in a downtown apartment building."

The computer was then passed on to someone else, who noticed that it continued to pull down fresh e-mails -- messages sent to someone with Tourre's name, a name suddenly in the news. The e-mails, correspondence between the trader and his lawyers, discussed how to handle accusations that he and his employer, Goldman Sachs, had played a key role in engineering a near-financial apocalypse.

Dishonest. Dumb.  Great combination.

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