The Securities and Exchange Commission's civil fraud charge against Goldman Sachs might hinge on the meaning of "selected." The regulator needs to prove that Goldman defrauded investors by not disclosing that hedge fund firm Paulson & Co., which allegedly bet against them, helped create the securities they bought. "The question is whether Paulson's undisclosed role in portfolio selection was material," said Larry Ribstein, a law professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "There's no clear and well-defined definition of what you have to disclose in this type of transaction."

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