Tourre on stand says email in SEC case 'not accurate'

Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:48pm EDT
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By Nate Raymond and Lauren Tara LaCapra

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fabrice Tourre, the former Goldman Sachs trader accused of secretly helping the hedge fund of billionaire John Paulson construct a $2 billion deal it could bet against, said Wednesday an email he sent to a key participant in the deal was inaccurate.

Tourre, 34, made the statement after taking the stand in the eighth day of what has become the highest-profile trial to come out of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's investigations of the 2008 financial crisis.

The trial is a chance for the SEC to show it can win big cases against individuals on Wall Street for wrongdoing that caused the financial crisis.

SEC lawyers say Tourre was driven by "Wall Street greed" to mislead investors in the infamous investment called Abacus 2007-AC1. Tourre denies any wrongdoing.

Early questioning of Tourre on Wednesday afternoon focused on a January 10, 2007, email Tourre sent describing what became Abacus to an executive at ACA Capital Holdings Inc, which the SEC claims was misled into believing Paulson was an equity investor.

The email said the riskiest slice of the deal was "pre-committed," which an executive at ACA testified she believed meant Paulson would invest in it. Tourre acknowledged Wednesday that it was not pre-committed.

Asked by an SEC lawyer if the statement was "false," Tourre said "it was not accurate."

"I wasn't trying to confuse anybody, it just wasn't accurate at the time," Tourre said.   Continued...

Former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre (C) leaves the Manhattan Federal Court in New York July 24, 2013. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz