Goldman’s Tourre Travels to Rwanda While Awaiting Trial

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive director Fabrice Tourre, who called himself “fabulous Fab,” has done volunteer work in Rwanda and started a U.S. doctorate program while awaiting trial in a government fraud suit his bank settled for $550 million.

The Securities and Exchange Commission alleged in a 2010 complaint that Goldman Sachs and Tourre, 33, who is on unpaid leave, defrauded investors in a collateralized debt obligation known as Abacus 2007-AC1.

The regulator identified Tourre as a “resident of Kigali, Rwanda,” in court papers filed March 21 in Manhattan federal court. Tourre had been in the African nation’s capital working for a non-governmental organization before beginning his studies at the University of Chicago, according to a person familiar with his travels who declined to be identified because the matter isn’t public.

“Tourre is a U.S. resident studying for a Ph.D. in economics at the University of Chicago,” his lawyer, Pamela Rogers Chepiga, said in a statement March 21. Steve Koppes, a university spokesman, said Tourre has been enrolled in the program since September.

The SEC alleged the Goldman Sachs executive director didn’t disclose that hedge fund Paulson & Co. helped pick the securities underlying the Abacus CDO with the intention of betting against them.

Largest Penalty

New York-based Goldman Sachs agreed in July 2010 to pay $550 million, the largest penalty ever assessed by the agency against a Wall Street firm, to settle allegations against it.

Tourre remains a defendant in the case. U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones in Manhattan last year narrowed some of the claims against him while allowing the case to go forward.

The reference to Kigali came in papers filed by the SEC seeking to question Jorg Zimmerman, a former employee of IKB Deutsche Industriebank AG in Germany. The SEC claimed Tourre spoke with Zimmerman to encourage his bank to invest in the securities. Tourre has denied any wrongdoing.

SEC spokesman John Nester declined to comment on the filing, and Michael DuVally, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs, declined to comment beyond confirming Tourre is on leave.

In its complaint, the SEC quoted from some of Tourre’s e-mails.

“The whole building is about to collapse anytime now,” Tourre wrote to a friend in a January 2007 e-mail. “Only potential survivor, the fabulous Fab... standing in the middle of all these complex, highly leveraged, exotic trades he created without necessarily understanding all of the implications of those monstruosities!!!”

The case is SEC v. Tourre, 10-cv-03229, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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