The bits of wisdom Florian Homm picked up during his stay in Colombia, where he was getting some “me time” and not trying to distance himself from angry investors whose money he’d lost, can be found in the book he wrote about living underground (“Kopf Geld Jagd”), which he hopes will be a “hard-core wake-up call” readers who are “trying to get a second Mercedes and a bigger boat.” For those who can’t wait for the English version, from an interview with the Times we learn:
Underwear makes a pretty good hiding place for cash.
Mr. Homm said he had spent much of the past five years living under an assumed name in Colombia as he tried to find himself, and not be found by dubious characters trying to collect a reward of €1.5 million, or $1.9 million, that had been put on his head…Just who wants to get Mr. Homm remains a mystery. But presumably the people who put up the reward — since withdrawn — were among the people who lost hundreds of millions investing in the hedge fund that Mr. Homm managed from Majorca, Absolute Capital Management Holdings. The fund’s value plunged in September 2007 shortly after Mr. Homm, his Calvin Klein underwear stuffed with cash, boarded a private turboprop plane on the Spanish island and flew to Colombia, according to the account he gives in the book.
You can never be too careful.
The years in exile do not appear to have dulled Mr. Homm’s flair for drama. German journalists who met Mr. Homm in Paris last week reported being subjected to baroque precautions in order to thwart a list of enemies that, Mr. Homm suggested, may include the Hell’s Angels and the Russian mafia. A reporter for The Financial Times Deutschland wrote of being told to travel alone to Paris, where he was directed by text message to a hotel lobby. There, a Homm associate appeared and led the reporter through narrow streets to another hotel. Mr. Homm appeared only after security guards had scanned the journalist with a metal detector.
If you polled a random 100 people on the street, odds are at least half of them were fucked by Bernie Madoff. Not really a lesson, just a little statistic that should keep the big guy, who knew he was good but not that he was that good, warm at night.
During his years underground, Mr. Homm wrote, he lived in Cartagena, Colombia, choosing the country because it would be easy to bring in a large amount of cash. “Most people try to take things out of Colombia, not the other way around,” he wrote. He also spent 18 months traveling the world, often living in cheap hotel rooms. Mr. Homm’s fortune, once estimated at $400 million, has dwindled to just 1 percent or 2 percent of its former value, he said. That is still $4 million to $8 million. Mr. Homm said the rest was squandered by an investment adviser who put some of the money into funds managed by Bernard L. Madoff, who is now in prison for operating a Ponzi scheme. “Madoff!” Mr. Homm wrote. “Irony can sometimes be brutally vengeful.”
After 5 Years Of Hiding, A Banker Reappears [NYT]