By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fabrice Tourre, a centralfigure in a controversial Goldman Sachs Group Inctransaction, asked a judge to throw out a U.S. regulator'sfraud lawsuit against him, 2-1/2 months after the bank settledits part of the case for $550 million.
Citing a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Tourre said theU.S. Securities and Exchange Commission case must be dismissedbecause the 2007 "Abacus" transaction, which involvedcollateralized debt obligations tied to subprime mortgages,took place outside the United States.
The Supreme Court, in the case Morrison v. NationalAustralia Bank Ltd, ruled in June that Australianshareholders who bought that bank's stock outside the UnitedStates could not raise securities fraud claims in U.S. courts.
Several judges have since applied the ruling to bar U.S.lawsuits in other scenarios, including where the plaintiffs arenot foreign investors.
The SEC lawsuit accused Goldman and Tourre, a vicepresident, of misleading investors about Abacus by failing toreveal that the hedge fund Paulson & Co helped choose theunderlying securities and bet against them.
In a filing late Wednesday in Manhattan federal court,Tourre said Abacus did not involve a purchase or sale in theUnited States or a security listed on a U.S. exchange, asrequired under Morrison's "transactional test."
Citing 10 million pages of documents the SEC turned over inAugust and September, he said the CDOs were not listed on anyexchange, and their sole investor was Germany's IKB DeutscheIndustriebank AG, which invested overseas.
The Morrison ruling "makes clear that the antifraudprovisions of the federal securities laws can be applied if,and only if, the securities transaction at issue takes place inthe United States," Tourre said.
"The complaint fails," he added.
SEC spokesman John Nester declined to discuss the filing.He said the agency plans to file a response within 14 days.Pamela Chepiga, a partner at Allen & Overy LLP who representsTourre, declined to comment, her assistant said.
Tourre remains a Goldman employee but is on paid leave,spokesman Michael DuVally said Thursday.
Goldman settled with the SEC on July 16 without admittingwrongdoing. U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones approved thataccord and is handling the Tourre case. Tourre is the onlyGoldman employee sued individually by the SEC.
The case is SEC v. Goldman Sachs & Co et al, U.S. DistrictCourt, Southern District of New York, No. 10-03229. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; editing by John Wallace)