The Commission brings this securities fraud action against Citigroup Global

UNIT~D STATES DISTRICT CdUR}i)1'il'\Ul
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW,ĽU~ii WI
U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE
COMMISSION,
Plaintiff,
v.
CITIGROUP GLOBAL MARKETS INC.,
Defendant.
COMPLAINT
ll-CV----~
ECFCASE
Plaintiff Securities and Exchange Commission ("Commission") alleges as follows
against the defendant Citigroup Global Markets Inc. ("Citigroup Global Markets"):
SUMMARY
1. The Commission brings this securities fraud action against Citigroup Global
Markets (along with certain affiliates, "Citigroup"), based on its role in the structuring and
marketing of a largely synthetic collateralized debt obligation ("CDO") called Class V
Funding III ("Class V III"). The investment portfolio for Class V III consisted primarily of
credit default swaps ("CDS") referencing other CDO securities with collateral consisting
primarily of subprime residential mortgage-backed securities ("RMBS"). As a result, the
value of Class V III and its underlying investment portfolio was tied to the United States
residential housing market. Citigroup structured and marketed this $1 billion "CDOsquared"
in early 2007 when the U.S. housing market and securities linked to the U.S.
housing market were already beginning to show signs of distress. CDO-squared transactions
such as Class V III were designed to, and did, provide leveraged exposure to the housing
market and therefore magnified the severity of losses suffered by investors when the United
States housing market experienced a downturn.
2. Citigroup's marketing materials for Class V III - including a pitch book and
offering circular - represented that the investment portfolio was selected by Credit Suisse
Alternative Capital, Inc. ("CSAC"), a registered investment adviser that was promoted as
having experience and expertise in analyzing credit risk in CDOs, using an extensively
described asset selection process. The marketing materials failed to disclose to investors that
Citigroup had exercised significant influence over the selection of $500 million of the assets
in the Class V III investment portfolio, and that Citigroup had retained a short position in
those assets. Citigroup established its short position by entering into CDS on assets that it
helped select for Class V III. By taking a short position with respect to the assets that it had
helped select, Citigroup profited from the poor performance of those assets, while investors
in Class V III suffered losses. The CDO securities on which Citigroup bought protection had
a notional value of approximately $500 million, representing half of the ClassY III
investment portfolio. The marketing materials Citigroup prepared and distributed to
investors did not disclose Citigroup's role in selecting assets for Class V III and did not
accurately disclose to investors Citigroup's short position on those assets.
3. In sum, the marketing materials were materially misleading because they
suggested that Citigroup was acting in the traditional role of an arranging bank, when in fact
Citigroup had exercised significant influence over the selection of the assets and had retained
a $500 million proprietary short position ofthe assets it had helped select, which gave
Citigroup undisclosed economic interests adverse to those of the investors in Class V.
4. Class V III closed on February 28, 2007. At closing, Citigroup was paid
approximately $34 million in fees for structuring and marketing Class V III. On or about that
date and in the following weeks, Citigroup sold approximately $343 million of Class V III
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equity and mezzanine liabilities ('"notes") to approximately fourteen (14) institutional
investors ('"Subordinate Investors"), all of whom received some or all of the marketing
materials for Class V III. The Subordinate Investors included hedge funds, investment
managers and other CDO vehicles. On or about March 16, 2007, Ambac Credit Products
('"Ambac"), an affiliate of Ambac Assurance Corporation, a monoline insurance company,
agreed to sell protection to an affiliate of Citigroup on the $500 million super senior tranche
of Class V III, meaning that Ambac effectively invested in that tranche by assuming the
credit risk associated with that portion of the capital structure via CDS in exchange for
premium payments. The transaction with Ambac was intermediated by BNP Paribas
("BNP"), a European financial institution (together with Ambac, the "Super Senior
Investors"). Citigroup provided the marketing materials for Class V III to Ambac and BNP
in connection with their decision to sell protection on the super senior tranche of Class V III.
5. By November 6, 2007, approximately 83% of the CD Os in the Class V III
investment portfolio had been downgraded by rating agencies. Class V III declared an event
of default on November 19, 2007. As a result of the poor performance of the investment
portfolio, the Subordinate Investors and Super Senior Investors lost several hundred million
dollars. Through its fees and its short positions, Citigroup realized net profits of at least $160
million in connection with Class V III.
6. By engaging in the conduct described herein, Citigroup Global Markets
violated Sections 17(a)(2) and (3) of the Securities Act of 1933 [15 U.S.c. §§77q(a)(2) and
(3)] ("Securities Act") by negligently misrepresenting key deal terms, namely the process by
which the investment portfolio was selected and Citigroup's financial interest in the
transaction. The Commission seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement of profits, prejudgment
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interest, civil penalties and other appropriate and necessary equitable relief from the
defendant.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
7. This Court has jurisdiction and venue over this action pursuant to Sections 20(b),
20(d) and 22(a) of the Securities Act [15 US.c. §§ 77t(b), 77t(d), 77v(a)]. Citigroup Global
Markets transacts business in this judicial district and, in connection with certain of the acts,
transactions, and courses of business described in the complaint, directly or indirectly, made use
of the means or instrumentalities of interstate commerce, or of the mails, or the facilities of a
national securities exchange therein.
DEFENDANT
8. Citigroup Global Markets Inc. is the principal U.S. broker-dealer of Citigroup
Inc., a global financial services firm headquartered in New York City. Citigroup Global
Markets structured and marketed Class V III.
FACTS.
A. THE STRUCTURE OF A CDO-SQUARED
9. CDOs are debt securities collateralized by fixed income obligations, such as
RMBS. A CDO collateralized by bonds is known as a "cash CDO." A CDO collateralized
by tranches of other CDOs is called a CDO-squared. Investors in a CDO-squared receive
payments derived from the cash flows produced by the investment portfolio. The securities
in the investment portfolio are packaged and held by a special purpose vehicle ("SPV") that
issues the notes. Investors in a cash CDO-squared receive payments derived from theˇ
principal and interest paid by the underlying CDO tranches in the investment portfolio.
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10. The cash flows from the CDO-squared are distributed to the notes in a
waterfall fashion, based on seniority. The "super senior" tranche is at the top ofthe waterfall
and thus has the first right to receive principal and interest. It is considered to have the
lowest likelihood of being affected by negative performance ofthe underlying collateral.
Next in priority are the senior tranches, which are typically ratedAAA or AA by the rating
agencies. Below the senior tranches are the "mezzanine" tranches, rated A and BBB, which
are junior in priority and, therefore, carry more risk. Below the mezzanine tranches are the
subordinated notes, or equity, which are the first to experience losses based on negative
performance ofthe underlying collateral.
11. A CDO collateralized only by CDS is called a "synthetic CDO." A CDS is an
over-the-counter derivative contract that functions like insurance on a so-called "reference
asset" or "reference issuer." In a CDS transaction, a "protection buyer" makes periodic
premium payments to a "protection seller." In exchange, the protection seller promises to
pay the protection buyer if the reference asset experiences a "credit event," such as a default.
Because the protection seller generally receives premium payments while the reference asset
is performing but suffers a principal loss if the reference asset defaults, the protection seller is
considered to have a long position on the reference asset. In contrast, because the protection
buyer receives payments when the reference asset experiences a credit event, and thus
declines in value, the protection buyer is considered to have a short position on the reference
asset. Investors in a synthetic CDO-squared receive payments derived from the periodic
premium payments that the SPY receives from the protection buyers on the CDS into which
the SPY entered.
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12. A hybrid CDO is a CDO collateralized by both cash assets (i.e. bonds) and
synthetic assets (i.e. CDS). Class V III was a hybrid CDO-squared. Typically, in a CDOsquared
with synthetic assets (such as Class V III), the arranging bank, i.e. the bank that
structures and markets the transaction, plays the role of initial CDS asset counterparty. In its
role as initial CDS asset counterparty, the arranging bank typically acts through its trading
desks as an intennediary between the CDO-squared SPY and other market participants. If
there is a collateral manager, the collateral manager identifies a counterparty for a CDS that it
wants to include in the investment portfolio of the CDO-squared, and the arranging bank
intennediates that trade (that is, sells protection to that counterparty and simultaneously buys
protection from the CDO-squared) in exchange for a small "intennediation fee." In addition,
the arranging bank can itself negotiate with the manager to purchase protection from the
CDO, either for an interested customer or the arranging bank's own account. When the
arranging bank trades with the CDO-squared under these circumstances, there is no
intennediation fee. If the arranging bank sells protection to one of its customers, it seeks to
capture as profit the difference between what it pays for protection and what it charges its
customer - the spread between the two trades. When the arranging bank chooses to retain
the protection for its own account, and does not have an offsetting long position in the same
asset, the arranging bank has a "naked short" position.
13. Prior to the closing date in a CDO-squared transaction, it is typical for the
arranging bank to have acquired most of the collateral (whether cash or synthetic) on behalf
of the CDO-squared. During the resulting "warehouse" period, the arranging bank typically
finances the acquisition of collateral and places that ~ollateral in a segregated account or
"warehouse." If there is a collateral manager for the CDO-squared, it is the collateral
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manager that directs what assets will be acquired by the warehouse. In the case of a synthetic
CDO-squared, the arranging bank, in its role as initial CDS asset counterparty, will buy
protection from the warehouse. When the CDO-squared transaction closes, the assets are
transferred to the SPV, and the Spy becomes the protection seller. The Spy uses the money
from investors in the CDO-squared's notes to make any contingent payments due under the
CDS if there are credit events on the assets in the reference portfolio. Thus, once the
arranging bank sells the CDO-sqmired notes to outside investors, those investors have
effectively taken the long side of the underlying CDS transactions.
14. The arranging bank for a CDO-squared typically profits from the fees it charges
for structuring and marketing the transaction, any fees it receives for intermediating trades,
and the spread it captures by buying protection from the CDO-squared and selling protection
to its customers.
B. THE DEMAND FOR "SHORT" POSITIONS ON CDO TRANCHES
15. During late 2006 and early 2007, certain hedge funds and other market
participants came to believe that CD Os whose assets consisted primarily of BBB-rated
subprime RMBS (so-called "mezzanine" CDOs) would experience significant losses, leading
even the A-rated tranches of "mezzanine" CD Os to potentially become worthless. These
market participants sought to profit from a downturn in the United States housing market by
buying protection through CDS on A-rated tranches of mezzanine CDOs originated in 2006.
16. Citigroup's CDO trading desk was one ofthe most active traders of CDS
referencing CDOs. By late October 2006, Citigroup's CDO trading desk had a large number
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of hedge fund customers seeking to buy protection on CDO tranches, particularly on tranches
of certain mezzanine CDOs originated in 2006.
17. The increased demand for protection in the market led to the widening of
spreads that market participants were willing to pay for protection on A-rated tranches of
CDOs. CDS assets are typicaH-y priced based on a spread over a risk free funding rate, such as
LIBOR. All other things being equal, a wider spread on a CDS indicates a higher level of
perceived riskiness in the reference asset. With this widening of spreads, internal discussions
began at Citigroup about the feasibility of structuring and marketing a CDO-squared
collateralized by A-rated tranches.
18. At least part of Citigroup' s rationale for pursuing such a transaction was that it
would enable its CDO trading desk to establish a naked short position on A-rated tranches of
certain mezzanine CDOs originated in 2006. These naked short positions would increase in
value, and thus provide profits to Citigroup, in the event of a downturn in the United States
housing market.
C. STRUCTURING OF CLASS V III - PHASE ONE
19. Beginning in or around October 2006, personnel from Citigroup's CDO trading
desk had discussions with personnel on Citigroup's CDO structuring desk about the possibility
of the CDO trading desk establishing short positions in a specific group of assets by buying
protection from a CDO-squared that Citigroup would structure and market. Personnel on
Citigroup's CDO syndicate, trading, and structuring desks also discussed the possibility of
having the CDO-squared purchase unsold CDO tranches from CD Os previously structured by
Citigroup.
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20. Citigroup knew that representing to investors that an experienced, third-party
investment adviser had selected the investment portfolio would facilitate the placement of the
notes that the CDO-squared would issue.
21. On or around October 19,2006, Citigroup initiated discussions with CSAC
about CSAC acting as collateral manager for the CDO-squared. CSAC was a registered
investment adviser that had previously acted as the collateral manager for several other CDOs.
22. Also on or about October 23,2006, the managing director on Citigroup's CDO
trading desk ("Trading Desk Head") sent to a senior Citigroup CDO structurer a list of 21
recent-vintage, mezzanine CDOs on which the CDO trading desk wished to buy protection
from the CDO-squared.
23. On or about October 26,2006, personnel from Citigroup's CDO syndicate,
structuring, and trading desks discussed potential structures for the CDO-squared, as well as
the possibility that Citigroup would short assets into the CDO-squared. On or about October
27, a Citigroup CDO structurer distributed internally to Citigroup's CDO trading desk and
others models of several alternative CDO-squared structures, including models showing the
potential profits to Citigroup from shorting assets into the CDO-squared.
24. On or about October 30, 2006, the senior CDO structurer forwarded to the CDO
salesperson who covered CSAC the list of21 CDOs originally provided by the trading desk on
or about October 23,2006.
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25. On or about November 1,2006, the CDO salesperson forwarded that list, along
with four added names that he had received from the CDO trading desk, to CSAC, describing
the list as CDOs that were "contemplated to be in the [CDO-squared] portfolio."
26. On or about November 2, 2006, the Trading Desk Head informed the senior
CDO structurer that CSAC appeared "amenable to the portfolio" and "receptive to the
concept," and asked the senior CDO structurer to draft an engagement letter for CSAC.
27. On or about November 3, 2006, the senior CDO structurer drafted an
engagement letter for CSAC and circulated it internally with the subject line "CSAC CDOsquared."
Later that day, in response to receiving the draft engagement letter, the senior CDO
structurer's immediate supervisor inquired, "Are we doing this?" The structurer responded: "1
hope so. This is [Trading Desk Head]'s prop trade (don't tell CSAC). CSAC agreed to terms
even though they don't get to pick the assets." The term "prop trade" is shorthand for
"proprietary trade," meaning a trade undertaken for a firm's own account, rather than on behalf
of the firm's customer(s).
C. STRUCTURING OF CLASS V III - PHASE TWO
28. In late December 2006, CDS spreads on single-A CDO tranches widened
further, and Citigroup renewed its efforts to finalize the engagement with CSAC and move
forward with the CDO squared. As a result ofthose efforts, CSAC and Citigroup agreed to
proceed with the transaction.
29. On or about December 21,2006, CSAC sent an email to Citigroupwith the
subject line "List of CDOs" that read in relevant part, "here are a list of deals - a lot are ones
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that we own some part of the capital structure in one or more of our deals ... Also, I have
added some other deals that I am familiar with." The 127 names on CSAC's list were
diversified by deal type and vintage, with only a portion represented by recent-vintage,
mezzanine CDOs. The list included approximately 19 of the original 25 names Citigroup
. provided CSAC on November 1, 2006. The Citigroup CDO salesperson forwarded a copy of
the list to the CDO trading, structuring, and syndicate desks.
30. On or about the morning of January 8, 2007, Citigroup's CDO trading desk
selected 25 CDOs from CSAC's December 21, 2006 list and provided the 25 names to the
Citigroup CDO salesperson. All but one of the 25 names were 2006, mezzanine CDOs; the
sole exception was a mezzanine CDO that closed in December 2005. Sixteen ofthe 25 names
that Citigroup selected had been on the list that Citigroup provided to CSAC on November 1,
2006. Later in the morning on January 8, 2007, the Citigroup CDO salesperson sent the list of
25 names to CSAC with the statement, "Here are the names where we would like to buy
protection from CSAC." Within an hour, CSAC agreed to include the 25 names in the
investment portfolio by selling protection on those names to Citigroup. The notional amount
of CDS referencing these CDOs was $250 million.
31. On or about January 8, 2007, Citigroup and CSAC entered into an engagement
letter pursuant to which Citigroup agreed to serve as "Placement Agent," and CSAC agreed to
serve as "Manager" for Class V III. Pursuant to the Engagement Letter, it was the
responsibility of CSAC to "identify Collateral" and "direct the purchase of securities" for the
investment portfolio.
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32. On or about January 10,2007, CSAC selected 18 additional CDO tranches on
which protection would be sold for the investment portfolio with little or no involvement from
Citigroup. The counterparties that would buy protection were identified using a "bid wanted in
competition" or "BWIC" process, pursuant to which a list of bonds is submitted to various
brokers to solicit bids for protection. The notional amount of these CDO tranches was
approximately $220 million.
33. On or about, January 11,2007, Citigroup and CSAC agreed to increase the size
of the Class V III transaction from $500 million to $1 billion.
34. On or about January 12,2007, Citigroup and CSAC reached an agreement
pursuant to which CSAC doubled the credit exposure of Class V III to the original 25 CD Os
that Citigroup had selected on January 8 by selling additional protection to Citigroup at agreedupon
premiums. The notional amount of the CDO tranches to which the additional protection
related was again $250 million, which increased Citigroup's short position to approximately
$500 million, representing one-half of Class V Ill's investment portfolio.
35. Of the $500 million of short positions Citigroup purchased on January 8 and 12,
2007, $490 million were naked shorts.
36. Between approximately January 12,2007, and February 12,2007, CSAC
selected additional CDOs to include via CDS in the investment portfolio with little or no
involvement from Citigroup. The notional amount of the CDS on these CDOs was
approximately $150 million. This brought the total notional amount of synthetic CD Os
included in the investment portfolio for Class V III to $870 million.
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37. The investment portfolio for Class V III also included nine cash CDO tranches
with a total notional amount of$130 million. Six of these nine cash CDO tranches, with a face
value of $92.25 million, were from CDOs structured and marketed by Citigroup.
38. On or about February 14,2007, the Trading Desk Head communicated to
Citigroup's Risk Management Grganization the CDO trading desk's intention to retain the short
position in the Class V III collateral even if Citigroup sold all of the tranches of Class V III. In
other words, Citigroup was positioned to profit from the negative performance of the Class V
III collateral even as it was marketing Class V III to investors.
D. DISCLOSURES RELATING TO PORTOLIO SELECTION AND
FINANCIAL INTERESTS
39. The two primary marketing documents for Class V III were the offering circular
(similar in content to a prospectus in a registered offering) and the pitch book (a PowerPoint
presentation provided to potential investors). Both were prepared by Citigroup personnel,
including the senior CDO structurer, and used by Citigroup to market the transaction to
prospective investors. Citigroup was responsible for ensuring the accuracy and completeness
of the marketing documents.
40. Citigroup's February 2007 pitch book for Class V III, which was finalized on or
about February 5, 2007, represented that CSAC was the "collateral manager" and "Manager,"
and that the collateral for Class V III had been "selected" by CSAC. The "Manager" section of
the pitch book, a 20-page section provided by CSAC and which included a disclaimer stating
that its contents were not independently verified by Citigroup, gave an overview of CSAC;
described CSAC's track record and investment philosophy; and, most significantly, included a
13
detailed, 9-page section titled "Portfolio Construction and Management," describing CSAC's
purportedly rigorous approach to the selection of assets for the investment portfolios of CDOs
managed by CSAC. Neither the "Manager" section nor any other part ofthepitch book
included any reference to the role played by Citigroup in selecting a substantial portion of the
Class V III investment portfolio. Citigroup knew or should have known that the pitch book, by
failing to disclose Citigroup's role in the selection of the investment portfolio, was inaccurate
and misleading.
41. In particular, the Citigroup structurers responsible for the marketing documents
should have known that it was misleading to represent that the collateral had been selected by
CSAC through the selection process described in the documents. On or around February 6,
2007, a prospective investor in Class V III asked Citigroup to arrange a call with CSAC, to
seek an explanation as to why CSAC had chosen to invest in several "static" deals (i.e. deals
with non-managed portfolios). Each of the static transactions in the portfolio seen by the
potential investor had been selected by Citigr~up on January 8. After hearing that the potential
investor was raising questions, the head of Citigroup' s CDO syndicate desk sent an internal
email to several recipients, including the senior CDO structurer stating: "[CSAC] bought these
static bonds and ... should have a rationale as to why [CSAC] found them attractive." One of
the structurers who had been on the call with the potential investor and CSAC responded,
"[CSAC] can come up with some stories for some of the static deals in Class V pool, but not
all of them."
42. On or about February 26, 2007, Citigroup finalized an offering circular for
Class V III. The cover page of the offering circular represented that CSAC "will act as the
Manager for the portfolio of assets." The offering circular made at least six separate
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representations that the investment portfolio was "selected" by CSAC. A section titled "The
Manager/' drafted by CSAC, describes CSAC's expertise and experience with CDO
management and asset selection and includes a representation that "selection of the Eligible
Collateral Debt Securities is based primarily on structural and credit analysis as well as
technical factors which may influence trading levels and pricing." Nothing in the offering
. circular included any reference to the role played by Citigroup in selecting the Class V III
investment portfolio.
43. Both the pitch book and the offering circular contained disclosure concerning
Citigroup's role as "Initial CDS Asset Counterparty," including explanation of potential
conflicts of interest resulting from Citigroup assuming that role. Page 88 of the 192-page
offering circular included a statement that "[t]he Initial CDS Asset Counterparty may provide
CDS Assets as an intermediary with matching off-setting positions requested by the Manager .
or may provide CDS Assets alone without any off-setting positions." These di~osures did not
provide any information about the exterit of Citigroup's interest in the negative performance of .. .
the collateral in Class V III, or that Citigroup already had short positions in $500 million of the
collateral.
44. Notwithstanding that Class V III was structured as a "prop trade," i. e. a vehicle
into which Citigroup would short assets for its own account, Citigroup did nothing to ensure
that the marketing documents accurately disclosed Citigroup's actual interests in the collateral.
45. The pitch book and offering circular were materially misleading because they
failed to disclose that:
a. Citigroup had played a substantial role in selecting assets for Class V III;
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b. Citigroup had taken a $500 million short position on the Class V III collateral
for its own account, including a $490 million naked short position; and
c. Citigroup's short position was comprised of names it had been allowed to
select, while Citigroup did not short names that it had no role in selecting.
46. Taken together, the misleading and inaccurate disclosures led investors to
believe that the Class V III investment portfolio was selected by CSAC pursuant to a rigorous
selection process and that Citigroup and its affiliates would merely act in the traditional role of
an arranging bank in such a transaction. Nothing in the disclosures put investors on notice
either that Citigroup's role in the transaction actually included significant influence on the
asset selection process, and a $500 million short position on the assets that it had helped select,
or that, as a result of that role, Citigroup had interests that were adverse to the interests of
investors.
E. CLASS V III'S INVESTORS
47. Beginning in late January 2007, Citigroup undertook efforts to offer and sell the
Class V III tranches. These efforts involved offering Class V III broadly through the CDO
sales group to many of Citigroup' s institutional clients, including a variety of hedge funds;
asset managers, including CDO managers; and both US and foreign financial institutions.
Citigroup provided the pitch book and offering circular to prospective investors. The offering
circular and/or pitch book were distributed by email sent from Citigroup's New York offices.
48. Ultimately, approximately 15 different investors purchased (or sold protection
on) tranches of Class V III with a face value of approximately $843 million.
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49. The largest investor in Class V III was Ambac, a monoline insurer
headquartered in New York City. Ambac was first approached by Citigroup on or about
January 12,2007, about writing protection on the super senior tranche of Class V III. In
January and February 2007,Citigroup conducted extensive discussions with Ambac about the
terms of Ambac's investment in Class V III. As part of its due diligence process, Ambac
received multiple drafts of the offering circular from Citigroup.
50. Ambac typically invested in CD Os with portfolios selected by a collateral
manager. Ambac's intemaldocuments relating to the approval of Ambac's investment in
Class V III contain extensive discussion of CSAC's purported expertise and asset selection
process and emphasize the importance ofCSAC's "perceived disciplined approach to the
selection of securities."
51. Ambac was unaware of either Citigroup's approximately $500 million naked
short position in Class V III, or the extent of Citigroup' s influence on the selection of assets.
Knowledge ofCitigroup's actual role in the transaction would have been important to the
investment decision of a reasonable investor.
52. Class V III closed on February 28, 2007. Effective March 16,2007, Ambac
agreed to sell protection on the $500 million super senior tranche of Class V III, meaning it
effectively invested in that tranche by assuming the credit risk associated with that portion of
the capital structure via CDS in exchange for premium payments. The super senior transaction
with Ambac was intermediated by BNP. This meant that, through a series of CDS, BNP
assumed the credit risk associated with the super senior tranche of Class V III in the event, and
only to the extent, that Ambac was unable to pay.
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53. The CDS transactions between and among Citigroup, Ambac and BNP relating
to the super senior tranche of Class V III were entered into, in whole or in part in New York,
New York. Each CDS transaction was subject to an agreement between the relevant parties
that the transaction would be governed by the laws of the state ofN ew York.
54. Citigroup also o-ffered and sold notes with a par value of$343 million to the
Subordinate Investors, a group of approximately fourteen (14) institutional investors including
hedge funds, investment managers and other CDO vehicles. Citigroup provided the
Subordinate Investors with marketing materials for Class V III, including the pitch book and
offering circular.
55. At the time of their investments in Class V Ill, the Subordinate Investors were
unaware of Citigroup' s role in selecting the investment portfolio, and many considered
experience as a collateral manager and rigorous asset selection process to be important to their
investment decision. One wrote in an internal investment memorandum, "We do think CSAC
has a strong record in selecting good portfolios, but we are not 100% comfortable with their
asset selection in this case, but since their franchise and structured credit platform is generally
strong ... we felt comfortable with this transaction."
56. Citigroup offered and sold the notes in New York, New York, and delivered
them to the Subordinate Investors in book-entry form through the Depository Trust Company
in New York, New York on or about the closing date.
57. Neither at the time that Class V III closed, nor when the CDS transactions with
the Super Senior Investors took place, did Citigroup disclose to any of the investors that it had
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taken a $500 million short position, including a $490 million naked short position, on the
assets in the Class V III investment portfolio.
E. THE PERFORMANCE OF CLASS V III
58. Certain sophisticated market participants criticized Class V Ill's investment
portfolio as the transaction was being marketed to investors. One experienced CDO trader
characterized the portfolio as "a collection of dogsh!t" and "possibly the best short EVER!"
An experienced CDO collateral manager commented, "the portfolio is horrible."
59. By late July 2007, 14 ofthe 58 assets in the Class V III portfolio had been
placed on negative watch by one or more rating agency. Eleven of those 14 assets were assets
Citigroup had selected on January 8 and on which Citigroup had a naked short position. By
early November 2007, approximately 33.4% of all of the assets in Class V III had been
downgraded.
60. The 25 names that Citigroup selected for Class V III performed significantly
worse than other names in Class V III and significantly worse than the approximately 102
other names on the list CSAC provided to Citigroup on December 21, 2006, that were not
included in Class V III.
61. On November 7,2007, Moody's downgraded every tranche of Class V III, and,
on November 19,2007, as a result ofthe severity ofthe downgrades ofthe underlying
collateral, Class V III was declared to be in an Event of Default, meaning that the CDO was
failing certain tests meant to judge its ability to repay the notes. Any remaining cash flows,
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therefore, would be directed to the super senior tranche exclusively. The Subordinate Investors
lost most, if not all, of their principal when their notes became nearly worthless.
62. Ambac began suffering losses on the super senior tranche of Class V III
towards the middle of 2008 and settled its exposure toward the end of that year after
experiencing significant financial distress attributable to its losses on subprime securities,
including CDOs such as Class V III. BNP has suffered additional losses on the super senior
tranche of Class V III.
63. Citigroup was paid approximately $34 million in fees for structuring and
marketing Class V III and, as a result of its fees and its short positions on $500 million of
assets in the Class V III investment portfolio, Citigroup realized net profits of approximately
$160 million in connection with Class V III.
CLAIM FOR RELIEF
Sections 17(a)(2) and (3) of the Securities Act
64. Paragraphs 1-63 are realleged and incorporated herein by reference.
65. As set forth above, Citigroup Global Markets, in the offer or sale of securities or
securities-based swap agreements, by the use of the means or instruments of interstate commerce
or by the mails, directly or indirectly, obtained money or property by means of untrue statements
of material facts or omissions of material facts necessary in order to make the statements made,
in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading, and engaged in
transactions, practices or courses of business which operated or would operate as a fraud or
deceit upon purchasers of securities in violation of Sections 17(a)(2) and (3) of the Securities
20
Act [15 U.S.C. § 77q(a)(2) & (3)]. A violation of Sections 17(a)(2) or (3) of the Securities Act
may be established by a showing of negligence. See Aaron v. SEC, 448 U.S. 680, 697 (1980) .
. PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, the Commission respectfully requests that this Court enter a judgment:
A. Permanently restraining and enjoining Citigroup Global Markets from violating
Sections 17(a)(2) and (3) of the Securities Act of 1933 [15 U.S.c. §77q(a)(2) and (3)];
B. Ordering Citigroup Global Markets to disgorge all profits that it obtained as a
result of its conduct, acts or courses of conduct described in this Complaint, and to pay
prejudgment interest thereon;
C. Ordering Citigroup Global Markets to pay civil monetary penalties pursuant to
Section 20(d)(2) of the Securities Act [15 U.S.c. § 77t (d)(2)]; and
D. Granting such other and further relief as the Court shall deem just and proper
Dated: Washington, D.C.
October 19,2011 Respectfully submitted,
Kenneth Lench
Reid A. Muoio (RM-2274)
Andrew Feller
Thomas D. Silverstein
Jeffrey Infelise
Attorneys for Plaintiff
Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F St., NE
Washington, D.C. 20549-4010
(202) 551-4904 (Infelise)
infelisel (W,sec. gov
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http://www.sec.gov/litigation/complaints/2011/comp-pr2011-214.pdf

 

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