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SocGen reaches $50M settlement deal over RMBS fraud claims

Société Générale SA agreed to pay a $50 million civil penalty to resolve claims pertaining to the marketing, sale and issuance of a residential mortgage-backed security.

The U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement that SocGen acknowledged that it falsely represented to investors, including federally insured financial institutions, that the loans underlying SG Mortgage Securities Trust 2006-OPT2 were originated in accordance with the loan originator's underwriting guidelines. Roughly 40% of the loans reviewed were found to be underwritten outside of guidelines and contained insufficient compensating factors to make the loans eligible for securitization.

Moreover, SocGen acknowledged that it made false representation to investors that, at the time of origination, no loan in SG 2006-OPT2 had a loan-to-value or combined loan-to-value ratio of more than 100%.

SocGen also acknowledged that it recognized broader weaknesses within subprime originating practices, but did not disclose those to investors.