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If you were wondering if, having been raked over the coals for his “America will end as we know it” prediction early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Bill Ackman had learned his lesson about making hysterical doomsday prognostications, well, here he is arguing in favor of nuclear apocalypse.

Ackman said that “WWIII has likely started already, but we have been slow to recognize it,” although he added that there was “much more we can do before we enter a hot war with Russia….” Ackman contended that NATO’s reluctance to intervene due to the nuclear threat posed by Russia was a poor strategic move.

“What then do we do when [Putin] wants more?” Ackman asked. “The nuclear threat is no different when he takes his next country, whether it is part of NATO or not, and by then we are strategically worse off.”

In fairness to Ackman, his peers are really taking it on the chin thanks to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Not to the extent of, say, the citizens of Mariupol, but it’s no picnic these days in Hedgefundistan, especially in that obscure province long occupied by Putin's people.

Private investment firms are scouring the lists of their fund investors to ensure they don’t run afoul of new sanctions against Russian oligarchs, government officials and others in response to their country’s invasion of Ukraine…. “Russia [seems to have] been preparing for this moment since 2014,” when Russia took over Ukraine’s Crimea region, said Zachary Brez, a partner at law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP focused on regulatory issues. “A big part of the preparation has been to obfuscate the identity of ownerships, so to figure out which entities are on the [sanctions list] is complicated.”

[Ed Eisler] got more than $100 million from an entity linked to Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman when setting up his own shop in 2015, according to people familiar with the matter. This week, those ties have become the subject of questions from other investors in the fund, uneasy at finding themselves bedfellows with a company founded by a man sanctioned by the European Union, some of the people said…. Asset managers are now faced with a question of what to do with capital derived from potentially banned sources and whether they should go beyond the letter of the law to address other investors’ concerns. That sanctions differ across jurisdictions is adding an additional layer of complexity.

And it’s not just asset managers, of course. With Russian banks desperately turning to the Chinese to keep payments flowing in the face of sanctions and SWIFT cut offs, clearinghouses clearing out even unsanctioned Russian securities, oil and nickel prices surging, cyberwarriors launching their own attacks, and the country attempting to service its worthless debt with its increasingly worthless currency, Goldman Sachs is also retreating.

The Wall Street powerhouse is shifting some of its Moscow-based staff to Dubai, a key financial hub in the Middle East, according to people with knowledge of the matter, asking not to be identified discussing personnel moves. The relocation is being driven by its staff seeking to work from a different location, one of the people said…. Dubai is seen as one of the few key cities in the world whose government has warm ties with the Kremlin.

Bill Ackman says Russia’s attack on Ukraine means World War III has likely already started [CNBC]
Turbulent times upend hedge funds [FT]
Investors face deep losses on $170bn in Russian assets [FT]
Macro Hedge Fund That Held On to Russia Bets Suffers Record Loss [Bloomberg via Yahoo!]
Hanbury’s Hedge Fund at Odey Writes Down Russia Bets to Zero [Bloomberg]
Hedge Fund H2O Holds On to Ruble Bets as Exiting Would be a ‘Gift’ to Putin [Bloomberg]
Sanctions on Russia Put Private Fund Backers Under the Microscope [WSJ]
Eisler Hedge Fund Faces Investor Scrutiny of Russia-Linked Cash [Bloomberg]
Russian Banks Turn to China to Sidestep Cutoff From Payments Systems [WSJ]
Clearinghouses Put Trading Restrictions on Unsanctioned Russian Securities [WSJ]
Oil Tops $130 a Barrel as Russian Attacks Escalate [WSJ]
Nickel Jumps 62% as Russia Supply Risk Sparks Huge Short Squeeze [Bloomberg via Yahoo!]
Volunteer Hackers Converge on Ukraine Conflict With No One in Charge [NYT]
Hedge Fund Veteran Jay Newman Says Russia’s Sovereign Debt Is Worthless [Bloomberg]
Russia Permits Payments to Foreign Bondholders, but Only With Rubles [WSJ]
Some Goldman Sachs Employees Moving Out of Russia to Dubai [Bloomberg]

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