A New York judge declined to dismiss charges against Gregoire Tournant, a former Allianz SE hedge fund manager accused of fraud in connection with billions of dollars in investor losses.
(Bloomberg) — A New York judge declined to dismiss charges against Gregoire Tournant, a former Allianz SE hedge fund manager accused of fraud in connection with billions of dollars in investor losses.
Tournant was chief investment officer and co-lead portfolio manager of a US-based group of Allianz hedge funds that collapsed. He has pleaded not guilty to charges including securities fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
US District Judge Laura Taylor Swain, in a one-page order Friday, denied Tournant’s motion to dismiss the indictment against him. She said she will publicly file a redacted version of an opinion providing her reasoning as soon as this month.
Lawyers for Tournant declined to comment on the ruling.
Tournant claims that lawyers at Sullivan & Cromwell who initially represented both him and Allianz misused their client relationship with him, gaining information they used to push the government to focus on him instead of the company. Prosecutors said he was trying to avoid trial by making inflammatory and baseless claims about his former attorneys and the government.
Tournant says he met with Sullivan & Cromwell lawyers on June 3, 2021, to prepare for planned testimony to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, even though the firm was already aware it had a conflict of interest representing both him and Allianz. The lawyers later passed information to prosecutors that Tournant provided during the meeting, he claims.
Two executives who worked with Tournant, Stephen Bond-Nelson and Trevor Taylor, agreed to plead guilty to charges and are cooperating with prosecutors. The government claims Tournant conspired to obstruct an SEC investigation by telling Bond-Nelson to lie to the company’s lawyers, knowing the information would be passed on to the regulator.
The US argued that Tournant signed a written waiver, when he was represented by three different law firms, that allowed his employer to disclose information to prosecutors. The government later ended up charging both Tournant and an Allianz unit.
A New York judge last month approved a plea deal under which a unit of Allianz SE, the German insurer, agreed to pay about $6 billion and pleaded guilty to a single criminal charge of securities fraud to resolve charges it misrepresenting the investment risk posed by the hedge funds.
The case is US v. Tournant, 22-cr-00276, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
(Adds declined comment in fourth paragraph.)
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