Now raising intellectual capital
Expensive wines and toxic assets are rarely mentioned in the same breath.
But that was the talk at UBS during the summer of 2007, when the Swiss banking giant sold some $35 million in soon-to-be rotten collateralized debt obligations to Pursuit Partners, a Connecticut hedge fund, which is now suing the bank.
Last week, a Connecticut judge ruled that Pursuit had presented sufficient evidence that UBS sold the CDOs even though the bank had confidential information that Moody’s Investors Service was planning to slash its credit ratings on those subprime-backed securities.
The judge, in issuing a preliminary ruling against UBS, cited an internal UBS email that has received a fair amount of attention because a trader boasted: “Sold some more crap to Pursuit.”
But it’s the email exchange leading up to that trader’s comment, which wasn’t included in the judge’s decision but was obtained by Reuters, that may be just as revealing.
Sometimes legal fishing expeditions pay off.
A year ago, a Connecticut hedge fund sued UBS, contending that it knowingly sold toxic mortgage-backed securities to institutional investors but never disclosed that information.
At the time, the accusation by the fund, Pursuit Partners, seemed intriguing. But because the complaint lacked any sign that it had the beef to back up its potentially explosive claim, the litigation all but fell off the radar screen.