Bess Levin

Posts by Bess Levin

london-gherkin-building_2Everyone based in London is said to be expecting big money this year. Read more »

  • 19 Dec 2014 at 3:53 PM

Bonus Watch ’14: Countrywide Whistleblowers

angelo_moziloThe total payouts to whistle-blowers in the federal government’s $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America over its mortgage business may approach $170 million. Edward O’Donnell, a former executive at Countrywide Financial, and Robert Madsen, a former property appraiser for the bank already have been identified as two of the whistle-blowers that federal prosecutors gave credit to in the settlement agreement with Bank of America. The other two whistle-blowers entitled to a share of the settlement dollars being paid out by Bank of America are Shareef Abdou, an executive in the bank’s operations group, and the firm Mortgage Now, a New Jersey mortgage lender, according to court filings. The filings did not disclose the value of the settlement payouts, but the whistle-blowers, all of whom filed complaints under the Federal False Claims Act, are collecting payments equal to 16 percent to 17 percent of specific portions of the $16.65 billion, according to court filings and people briefed on the matter but not authorized to speak publicly. [Dealbook]

jefferiesAnd here’s what he’s doing about it! Read more »

chris hohn jamie cooper hohn A $531 million divorce judgment in a case that has riveted Britain appears poised to stand after the ex-wife of a hedge fund manager said she would not appeal the decision. In late November, a London high court judge ordered Chris Hohn, the hedge fund manager who founded the Children’s Investment Fund, to pay that sum, thought to be the largest divorce award in Britain. At the time, Jamie Cooper-Hohn, Mr. Hohn’s ex-wife, appeared to indicate through her lawyer at a hearing that she might seek more. [Dealbook]

  • 18 Dec 2014 at 9:30 AM

Bonus Watch ’14: Citigroup

Citigroup Everyone at the House of Corbat is being asked to make sacrifices for the team this year, though some more than others. Read more »


[via @matt_levine]

  • 17 Dec 2014 at 3:35 PM

Bill Ackman Just Can’t Help Himself

ackmanBill Ackman sat in the hair and makeup chair at Bloomberg, waiting for his lieutenants to file in for a quick briefing before he went on the air. He knew what they were going to say and what they needed to hear him say before they’d be comfortable with him getting in front of the camera.

“Now what are you going to do when they ask you about Herbalife, Bill?”

“I’m going to speak about it in a measured tone. I’m going to manage expectations.”

“And why are you going to do that?”

“Because even if it’s true the company is a fraud, it doesn’t mean it’s going out of business tomorrow so we shouldn’t tell people to expect it, even though… [mumbles something about how he knows it will]…”

“What was that?”

“Nothing.”

“Okay, and what are you not going to do?”

“I’m not going to give an exact date in the near future when the company is going to explode.”

“And?”

“And I’m not going to use the word ‘explode’.”

“And?”

“And I’m not going to say ‘If Herbalife doesn’t go out of business in the next 365 days, I’ll give up solid food and subsist only on their shakes and supplements for a calendar year.”

The lieutenants looks at each other and nodded. They weren’t 100% sure they could believe him but this was as close as confirmation as they were going to get. And, to be fair, since the incident in July, he’d kept his promise. His promise to them, sure, but also his promise to himself. It’s not like he liked doing this. It’s not like he wanted to build up expectations re: the demise of Herbalife only to have them fail. But every time he got up on that stage, or in front of a camera, or on the phone with CNBC, something inside him took over and made him blurt out stuff like “Call the coroner, ’cause there’s gonna be a murder tomorrow, of the corporate variety” or “Get all the shakes you can now because in a fortnight, they’re gonna be gone” or “If Herbalife doesn’t go out of business by next week, my name’s not William A. Ackman.”

He wanted to dial down the enthusiasm. He really did. Read more »

Eli-face-7Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you, if you quit your Wall Street gig and make some shrewd calls re: Eli Manning and Marquess Wilson. Read more »