The Wall Street Journal has a noteworthy investigation today, and one that I thought was worth flagging.
Essentially, it found the borrowers whose home mortgages were the underlying collateral in Goldman Sachs' Abacus 2007-AC1 CDO deal. That's the CDO that is now the subject of the SEC's civil-fraud charges against Goldman Sachs.
Finding these homeowners could not have been an easy process. The Journal looked through the Abacus pitchbook and found the 90 bonds that were in the portfolio. Then it matched them with "court records, foreclosure listings, title records, and loan servicing reports" to find the 500,000 mortgages that ultimately, hedge fund manager John Paulson bet against.
Today in accountability news:
- A foundation controlled by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg shuttled $300 million into offshore tax havens, reports The New York Observer, which also reports that neither the foundation nor the mayor would explain why this was happening.
- Talking Points Memo reports on a new group with a clear message written into its name—Stop Too Big To Fail—and a secret mission that's quite the opposite. The astroturf group has launched a $1.6 million ad campaign to kill the financial reform bill.
- The task of supplying fuel to the U.S. military in Afghanistan has involved no-bid contracts, contractors accused of corruption, and cozy relationships with secretive foreign regimes, according to The Nation.
- More than 700 banking firms participated in the bank bailout, but about 7,400 banks did not. USA Today reports that some of those banks that declined government assistance had qualified for it, but chose instead to chart a different course.
- The Wall Street Journal reports on a different set of risk-takers in the Goldman Abacus deals: the homeowners who took on mortgages and ultimately defaulted.
These stories are part of our ongoing roundup of investigations from other news outlets. For more, visit our Investigations Elsewhere page.
We're not the only ones who've noticed that. In the past several days, a legal back-and-forth has emerged between Merrill Lynch and the Dutch bank known as Rabobank, which is accusing Merrill of essentially doing the same kind of deal Goldman is being sued for (i.e., failing to disclose to investors that a hedge fund was involved in the creation of a risky CDO that the hedge fund intended to bet against).