who’s to say really

From outward appearances, the past couple years have been a stressful time for Phil Falcone. After making billions of dollars for himself and for his investors on subprime, the Harbinger Capital Partners founder provoked the ire of many a client by tying up a good chunk of their money in a wireless start-up called LightSquared (a company the Federal Communications Commission is no fan of, due to the fact that it reportedly interferes with GPS devices used on land, sea, and in outer space), by borrowing $113 million from a gated fund in order to pay personal taxes, and by only allowing certain investors (Goldman Sachs) to get out while freezing redemptions for others and then telling them they could leave if they found some else to pick up their stake. Assets under management at Harbinger have dropped $23 billion, from a peak of $26 billion. For a variety of reasons, the Securities and Exchange commission wants to see him banned from the industry. A worried Bloomberg News reporter recently revealed he has a problem with pit stains (“[his] shirt appeared darker under the arms in his office last month”), which wouldn’t pose an issue were his shirt supply not dwindling rapidly (“One place Falcone is visiting less frequently is Domenico Vacca, the New York boutique where suits retail for $3,900 and shirts $490, according to a person with knowledge of his purchases. He orders every four or five months [now] compared with every two or three months between 2006 and 2009″). Read more »

Sleeping with prostitutes is legal in France if the girls are over 18 but some warn Mr Strauss-Kahn could face charges if the case expands to cover graft or procuring. The 10 French or Belgian women to whom police traced calls to Mr Strauss-Kahn, all claim to have had paid sex with him while he was IMF chief right up to his arrest last May on charges he tried to rape a New York hotel chambermaid. But in an intriguing line of defence, Mr Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer Henri Leclerc said his client could have been “totally unaware” that the women he met in swinger sessions were prostitutes. “At these parties, people were not necessarily dressed, and I defy you to tell the difference between a naked prostitute and any other naked woman,” he said. [Telegraph]