Goldman wins dismissal of lawsuit over CDOs faulted by Senate

Tue Sep 8, 2015 5:38pm EDT
 
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By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N: Quote) on Tuesday won the dismissal of a class-action lawsuit accusing it of defrauding investors in subprime mortgage offerings that some U.S. senators faulted after investigating causes of the 2008 financial crisis.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in Manhattan, who had certified a class action in January 2014, said investors led by hedge fund Dodona I LLC failed to show that Goldman structured two collateralized debt obligations, Hudson Mezzanine Funding 2006-1 and 2006-2, to fail.

In April 2011, the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations cited the Hudson CDOs as evidence that Goldman tried to profit at clients' expense ahead of the financial crisis by shedding exposure to subprime mortgages.

It said Goldman "took 100% of the short side" of the Hudson 2006-1 CDO, and "made a $1.7 billion gain at the direct expense of the clients to whom it had sold the securities."

But Marrero said that while Goldman used the Hudson CDOs in 2006 and 2007 to hedge against other subprime mortgage investments, evidence that it structured the CDOs to fail or hid material risks was "crucially absent" from the plaintiffs' case.

Marrero also dismissed related claims against two former employees in Goldman's structured products trading group: Derryl Herrick, a vice president, and Peter Ostrem, who reported to him.

Merrill Davidoff, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, declined to comment, saying he had yet to review the decision.

Nathaniel Read, a lawyer for the defendants, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.   Continued...

 
The Goldman Sachs logo is displayed on a post above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, September 11, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson