Brian Hunter

Hunter, Amaranth Dream Team Still Finding Ways To Lose

brianhuntermaybe.jpgWe’ve been sitting on this story because we didn’t want to rain on the comeback parade Brian Hunter’s been enjoying at the Peak Ridge Commodity Volatility & Fallen Heroes Shot at Redemption Fund, and Nick Maounis had quite nearly completed the assembly of his pussy posse, so there was that, but we can’t in good faith wait any longer: on Wednesday, a federal judge denied a motion by Amaranth Associates and its erstwhile golden boy B. Hunter, to dismiss charges brought by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission which said something about AA and BH attempting to manipulate the natural gas markets, and then lying to the NYMEX to cover up the botched mission. At the heart of the matter, the CFTC claims, are a series of instant messages between Hunter, Matthew Donohoe, other Amaranth employees and a trader at another firm, that supposedly “reveal [an] intent to manipulate prices.” You can find them here.
Personally, all I see are a bunch of “hahas,” instances of experimental grammar and, most offensively, “LOLs.” Are these transgressions emblematic of one’s trading acumen/criminality? I’m not sure. If they are, however, these guys are going down.
Hunter’s attorney, Michael Kim of Kobre & Kim LLP, told Reuters Friday, “When the case is fully examined, we are confident that Brian Hunter will be vindicated.” Kim (fictitiously) added, “Or, he will hang himself in his cell. Could go either way.”
Judge Denies Amaranth, Hunter Motion to Dismiss [Reuters]

Fish Boy Makes A “Comeback”

brianhuntermaybe.jpgDestroyer of all worlds/marine life/investor capital Brian Hunter has finally touched something that didn’t turn to shit (yet…as you know, his genius needs time to percolate). The Peak Ridge Commodity Volatility Fund, which Hunter has been advising since last year, gained 6 percent last month and 103 percent since it was started in November. The success of the fund probably has a lot to do with the fact that Peak Ridge brought Hunter on to do what he does best, i.e. suggest the riskiest trades possible, but retains complete control over trading, operations, and BH’s personal favorite, risk management. Hunter has absolutely no decision making authority, though being allowed to speak is apparently a step up from his initial role of potted plant, a pity gig he’s rumored to have scored after Solengo lost all its money over legal fees incurred trying to shut down some pissant blog. Early entries are being accepted now on the exact date Hunter blows the ass out of P. Ridge.
Brian Hunter Helps Deliver 49% Return After Demise of Amaranth [Bloomberg]

Jail Time ‘n Joke Time

brianhuntermaybe.jpgSteven J. Karavellas, a former director of the New York Mercantile Exchange, pleaded guilty this afternoon to commodities fraud and tampering with evidence. For his role in illegal trading in natural-gas markets between September 2002 and May 2003, in a scheme that defrauded at least one individual investor, Karavellas will pay a $850,000 fine and go to jail for five months. RE the “Brian Hunter” picture: I don’t think there’s even a tenuous link here, ‘cept that they were both natural gas traders. I just love that fish. And Blarney’s gone and I can do whatever I want. While we’re on the subject, I need to hit a quota of Ron jokes for the day/week/month he’s away, and at the time will be officially taking submissions from the field.
7 Charged in NY Mercantile Probe [AP]

Good To Know There’s No Bad Blood Between Us

brianhuntersgreatestachievement.jpgNot sure how many of you can get the time off, but if you’re not doing anything September 26th and 27th, Kobre and Kim LLP founder (and Brian Hunter apologist) Michael Kim will be speaking at C5′s 12th Annual Fraud, Asset Tracing & Recovery conference in London. K&K graciously emailed yesterday to invite us, but, sadly, we will not be able to attend, because we don’t want to. If you’d like to go in our place, please send an email to tips at dealbreaker dot com. Ideas for your contribution to the question and answer portion of the program include, “Have you recently sued a small internet company” and all queries must be prefaced with, “As the representative of the fraud-committing community…”

brianhuntersuedcftc.jpgThe world’s most famous energy trader has become an investor and a consultant in a new commodities hedge fund managed by Peak Ridge Capital, according to a wire story. Brian Hunter, whose natural gas portfolio blazed and burnt Amaranth Advisors to the ground, had hoped to start his own hedge fund—with the unfortunate name “Solengo”—but has been plagued by legal troubles stemming from Amaranth’s collapse.
Last month Hunter had complained to a federal court an investigation into his alleged market manipulation was driving away Solengo’s directors, traders and potential investors. It looks like he wasn’t pulling the court’s leg. Taking a consulting job with another fund is at the very least a leading indicator that this whole Solengo thing doesn’t seem to be working out.
Peak Ridge Capital is new to the energy trading game. It’s main focus in the past has been in venture capital and real estate. The Peak Ridge Commodity Volatility Fund will focus on natural gas trading, the area where Hunter made and broke his name. According to a press release on Peak Ridge’s website, the fund will be capped at $1 billion. Coincidentally, that is exactly how much Brian Hunter reportedly made for Amaranth after successfully trading 2005’s hurricane season.
Hunter is reportedly kicking $10 million of his own money into the Peak Ridge fund. He could not be reached for comment. Peak Ridge did not immediately return DealBreaker’s phone calls and emails.
Ex-Amaranth Hunter gets job at buyout firm [Financial News]
Peak Ridge Press Release [Peak Ridge website]

Hurricane B-Boy Would Also Be Funny

brianhuntersgreatestachievement.jpgSome of us walked to work this morning, because why not, and upon getting into the office remarked to our publisher, “Jesus fuck it’s hot out. Seriously, my jeans are sticking to my body, it’s disgusting. Feel it, it’s so gross.” Sick of listening to our complaining, Publisher, who declined to touch the actual dampness, responded, “Well, genius, that’s what happens when there’s about to be a hurricane. It gets humid out. Hey idiot, I’ve got a tip for you at dealbreaker dot com: try reading a book on weather or taking a science class.”
We took a pass on both suggestions on the basis of a categorical refusal to read books or take science classes, but having little interest in finding out what Bernanks was up to (or not up to), decided to look into this hurricane of which David Minkin spoke. Apparently it doesn’t yet have a name (nomination: Carney, because he likes to see his name in print as often as possible), and by Sunday, could become the seventh Atlantic tropical system of 2007 and the first to affect the East Coast.
Okay, great. But affect us how, we wondered? Do we care about buildings being damaged? No. Subway usage being limited? Not so much—there are these things called cabs. People who might be dispossessed from their homes? Not really. Looting and killing in the streets? No.
We sat at our computer for a while, really having a difficult time relating to/having an interest in something that will probably have no impact on our lives whatsoever (except for the fact that we’ve got plans to get melanoma in Central Park on Sunday, and JC melts when it rains). But then we remembered—some people could stand to make a lot of money off of a hurricane, if—fingers crossed—it’s big enough, and does enough harm. People like John Arnold. And Ken Griffin. And—this is almost too much to bear—Brian Hunter. B-boy! And if B-boy makes (or loses) a lot of money, you know what that means—we get to use the fish picture! Do you know of anyone else who stands to win big (or crash and burn) based on this weekend’s predicted drizzle? And a graphic as awesome as the fish one to go with? Let us know!

brianhuntermaybe.jpgFormer Amaranth energy trader and current fishing enthusiast Brian Hunter, whose natural gas picks turned out to be so wrong that they lost the hedge fund $6 billion in week, filed an 18-page plea with a federal court in Washington, D.C. on Friday, asking them to stop FERC from looking into his job history. Why? It’s causing all sorts of problems for him at his new place of employment, and not just catty inter-office talk, like “B-bone’s ass looks huge in those pants.” (That was just a for instance. “That picture with the fish was totally staged. Dude’s never caught a guppy in his life” would work, too). According to Hunter, as a direct result of FERC’s investigation into his alleged market manipulation, Solengo has lost fund directors, traders and potential investors.
“The FERC’s OSC has continued to damage Solengo Capital Advisors and the company is now on the brink of complete disintegration,” Hunter noted in a supplemental declaration, and you know he must mean it because this guy never lies. Among the supposed ways Solengo has been victimized by FERC are the fact that two directors of the Solengo Managed Funds resigned on July 25, two portfolio managers who’d previously given their word to join the firm reneged, and the fund has lost an enormous amount of (potential investor) money, though not as much as Brian misplaced at Amaranth (come on now). The filing states that prior to FERC’s (just plain rude) action, 25 investors had plans to fork over $800 million in ‘lengo. The fine wine now counts less than 12 entities with a total of $100 million among them willing to give the fund any money. And—get this—there’ve been no new inquiries since FERC started sticking its nose in other people’s business.
Hunter also jumps in his Delorean and comes back to report in the filing that he may have to walk away from the operation entirely, since Solengo will probably not win the approval of Alberta regulators while his name remains on the box. (Unsolicited: maybe that’s what you should’ve done in the first place? Taken the hundreds of millions that remained in your bank account even after you guessed everything wrong at Amaranth, sat on a beach in the Virgin Islands (or down the shore, whatever) and promised to never trade again, even through E*TRADE Financial? OR, alternatively, used these psychic powers to not blow up your former employer?).
If salty discharge hasn’t appeared around your eyes yet, wait. By Hunter’s estimation, he has invested $1.7 million of his own money and an “enormous amount of [his] time” setting up the fund that may soon just be a distant memory (remembered for getting miffed at us for showing its marketing brochures, which have since been replaced with pictures of puppies in the sun). Anyone need a minute? There’s no judgement in this room.

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