Freddie executive death apparent suicide -police source

RESTON, Va., (Reuters) – David Kellermann, acting  chief financial officer of troubled U.S. mortgage giant Freddie  Mac, was found dead yesterday in his suburban Virginia home  after apparently committing suicide, a local police source  said.

Kellermann, 41, was named Freddie Mac’s acting CFO last  September after the Treasury Department seized the company, and  its sibling mortgage agency Fannie Mae, as the agencies faced  deep losses on a crashing U.S. housing market that was rapidly  engulfing other financial institutions.

A police source said Kellermann was found hanging in the  basement of his home in Reston, an affluent suburb of  Washington, in an apparent suicide.
There was no indication what might have driven him to kill  himself.

In March, Freddie Mac said that it was cooperating with the  Securities and Exchange Commission in a probe and that  employees had been interviewed by investigators.
Freddie Mac said it knew of no link between federal  investigations and Kellermann’s death.

“Freddie Mac knows of no connections between this terrible  personal tragedy and the ongoing regulatory inquiries discussed  in our SEC filings,” said David Palombi, the executive  communications officer for the mortgage finance company.

A 16-year veteran of Freddie Mac, Kellermann had played a  key role in helping the firm navigate past accounting scandals  and answer questions from regulators and investors who put the  company under intense scrutiny as the U.S. housing market ended  a five-year boom in 2006.

“The accounting team has been under incredible pressure for  years and there are those you might worry about how they are  dealing with the stress, but he was not one of them,” said a  former Freddie Mac executive who worked with Kellermann.

There have been several high-profile suicides of business  executives around the world in the last six months as the  financial crisis took hold.

Police officials in Fairfax County would not confirm  Kellermann’s death was a suicide but said police were called at  4:48 a.m. EDT (8:48 GMT) to his home.

“Officers arrived and were directed to the basement of the  home where they found David Kellermann dead,” said Eddy  Azcarate, a spokesman for Fairfax County Police.

“We are not speculating as to the manner and cause of  death. We’re going to wait for the medical examiner to give  that information,” he said. “We do not suspect foul play.”
He said police never discuss if any notes are found.

While Freddie Mac has seen its executive ranks churn since  accounting improprieties first emerged in 2003 and as it has  booked multi-billion dollar losses in recent quarters, those  who knew Kellermann spoke of his good character and dedication  to the job.

“For many years, we have known David as a person of the  utmost ethical standards who was hardworking and knowledgeable  in his field,” the Federal Housing Finance Board, Freddie Mac’s  chief regulator, said in a statement.

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