There have been few more delightful stories out of hedge fund land in recent years than the dispute between Moore Capital Management founder Louis Bacon and his Bahamas neighbor, the flamboyant Canadian affordable fashion mogul Peter Nygard.
At issue: Whether Lyford Cay will remain a quiet little beach community, and who draws more water in the islands.
Basically, Bacon says Nygard is building a waterfront Gomorrah that is ruining the environment. Nygard counters that Bacon just wants his land. Bacon accuses Nygard of trying to have him killed. Nygard says it’s actually Bacon who’s trying to have him killed, in fantastically creative ways, and oh yea did you know that Bacon is secretly the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and is trying to overthrow the government of the Bahamas, throw Queen Elizabeth II off the throne and rename the whole archipelago Baconia? Bacon says the Bahamian government is letting Nygard hold dolphin-strangling parties because the island’s politicians are in his pay.
Those politicians responded by reading out some of Bacon’s letters on the floor of parliament, hiding behind parliamentary privilege to avoid violating Bahamian privacy laws. This is a step too far for the Bahamian Supreme Court, for the Bahamas is not only a beachy playground for the rich and not-so-rich alike, but also a major tax haven, the status of which would be very much undermined should aggrieved politicians be suddenly allowed to blab everyone’s secrets on the floor of Parliament.
And this pleases Bacon’s lawyer, Fred Smith, a great deal.
Emails between the Save the Bays foundation, a not-for-profit group Mr Bacon co-founded in 2013, and his brother Zachary were disclosed in a parliamentary debate in March. That violated both parties’ rights, according to Save the Bay’s attorney Fred Smith, and undermined the privacy that has long been the basis of the islands’ allure for the financial services industry.
The Bahamian Supreme Court ruled last week that its government could not rely on the shield of parliamentary privilege, and that reading private emails constituted a breach of privacy.…
“It’s the simple fact of having our privacy raped by the members of government,” he said. “Whatever the emails contain, whatever our private financial information with our banks may be, it is absolutely no business of the government to take it and launder it in public.”