John Paulson, central to Goldman deal, buys Aspen home

Prominent – some say infamous – hedge fund manager John Paulson has found a great place to invest some of the reported $1 billion he made betting against the nation’s housing market: a $24.5 million estate in Aspen.

Paulson is at the heart of Thursday’s record $550 million settlement between Goldman Sachs and the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, which alleged Goldman should have notified investors of Paulson’s involvement in a mortgage security the company created in 2007 right before the housing bubble burst.

Paulson famously made a fortune betting the national housing market would collapse, but the SEC filed a lawsuit against Goldman alleging investors should have known Paulson was involved. Paulson & Company was never implicated in any wrongdoing, and Goldman Thursday did not admit to any of the SEC’s allegations.

The website realaspen.com, after initially reporting via the Aspen real estate rumor mill that former Goldman executive and U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry “Hank” Paulson had purchased the property, confirmed that in fact it was John Paulson who had plunked down nearly $25 million for a sprawling Aspen Lakes Ranch property. Realtors with knowledge of the deal were confused about which Paulson with Goldman ties had bought the home under a veil of secrecy.

The purchase is seen by some observers as a sign that Colorado’s moribund mountain resort real estate market is on the mend. According to Forbes, John Paulson is worth an estimated $12 billion. Goldman Sach reported a profit in excess of $13 billion last year.

Regulators Thursday said the settlement announcement was not related to Senate passage the same day of the Wall Street financial reform package, according to The New York Times.

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