Yesterday we praised two NYT reporters for having uncovered the mess of the Goldman CDO scandal first, and we concluded, erroneously now it seems, that the SEC merely piggybacked on their disclosure to file charges against Goldman. However, as Reuters' Matt Goldstein reports, Goldman had received a Wells Notice from the SEC as far back as "six months ago", which predates the Morgenson and Story December 24 story. And as the SEC case would likely have taken at least one year to build up, we are confident that the SEC began their investigation into Goldman and Paulson well prior, likely in 2008 if not earlier. For those unfamiliar, a Wells is basically an advance warning that the recipient will be a target of an SEC investigation. We do not anticipate that anyone aside from Tourre (who, being just 27 at the time of the alleged transactions, in no imaginable way acted alone) and Goldman's legal counsel was aware of this development, although with allegations that Goldman was dumping various security holdings in advance of the announcement one can never be certain. One key line of questioning has emerged as a result of this disclosure: why was there no official notice anywhere in the public record of this Wells Notice receipt? The precedent is murky when it comes to corporations responsibility to report Wells Notice receipts: certainly, Goldman had no mention of this even in its March 1 10-K. What is however without question, is that Fabrice Tourre, who as we reported yesterday, is a registered broker dealer, has a responsibilty to modify his/her U-4 within 30 days of the Wells Notice receipt, yet as of yesterday there was still "no disclosure of any event about this broker." Assuming Goldman received the Wells 31 days ago or more, it begs the question did the firm, by allowing Tourre not to report the Wells Notice, break Finra regulations, and just why it believes it has the facility to do this?
Below is Tourre's still unupdated CRD form with Finra, which still show neither a pending civil case, nor any report of a Wells Notice receipt.
More relevantly, we are keeping a close eye on the CRD form of Mr. Tourre's supervisor, Jonathan Egol, for any such pending updates. We have a sinking feeling that when the scapegoating begins in earnest, he will be next on the chopping block.
We are very curious to hear what Goldman's justification for this "waiver" of non-compliance with statutory regulatory requirements will be.