Heungkuk Life Dispute With Goldman Sachs Goes to Arbitration

Heungkuk Life Insurance Co.’s lawsuit against Goldman Sachs Group Inc. over a collateralized debt obligation was withdrawn from New York state court after the two sides agreed to resolve the dispute through arbitration.

Heungkuk sued New York-based Goldman Sachs in federal court in Manhattan in March over a $1 billion collateralized debt obligation known as Timberwolf, accusing the company of fraud and seeking more than $47.3 million in damages. The Seoul-based insurer filed a similar state-court suit in April.

The federal case was voluntarily dismissed in May, according to court records. The two sides have agreed to “pursue the extrajudicial resolution” of the case in state court, according to court documents filed today. The state case was withdrawn “without prejudice,” meaning the claims can be re-filed.

The case will be resolved through arbitration, Jon Pickhardt, an attorney with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in New York who is representing Heungkuk, said in a phone interview.

Timberwolf was called “one shi**y deal” by a bank executive in a 2007 internal e-mail written eight days after the Heungkuk investment, according to the lawsuits. The e-mail was released publicly by U.S. Senate lawmakers last year.

Criminal Complaint

Heungkuk filed a criminal complaint against past and present employees of Goldman Sachs in South Korea relating to its purchase of a CDO securitization from the firm, the New York-based company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Aug. 9.

“The filing does not represent any judgment by a governmental entity, but starts a process whereby the prosecutor investigates the complaint and determines whether to take action,” Goldman Sachs said in the filing.

Heungkuk Life and Heungkuk Fire & Marine Insurance Co. filed a complaint with the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ office on June 28 against nine Goldman Sachs executives and employees, accusing them of fraud, Lee Yun No, an official at Heungkuk Life, said on July 5.

Michael DuVally, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs, declined to comment on today’s court filing.

The cases are Heungkuk Life Insurance Co. v. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., 650978/2011, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan); and Heungkuk Life Insurance Co. v. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., 11-cv-1856, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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