Hedge funds pounce on virus-hit companies

US-based hedge funds are aiming to persuade clients that the current economic crisis and the uncertainties in fact present a unique investment opportunity. (AP)
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Updated 29 March 2020

Hedge funds pounce on virus-hit companies

NEW YORK : Hedge funds have lost billions of dollars as COVID-19 has stalled the economy and sent Wall Street into a tailspin. But the financial institutions favored by the world’s richest investors are plotting a recovery by betting on the markets’ slump.

US-based hedge funds are aiming to persuade clients that the current economic crisis and the uncertainties in fact present a unique investment opportunity, according to letters sent to clients viewed by AFP.

In their discussions with current investors and potential new clients, some of these funds are emphasizing that stocks, corporate bonds and commodities have not been as cheap since the 2008 global financial crisis, according to sources close to the institutions.

“We only take new capital when we see opportunity on the markets,” a source at The Baupost Group hedge fund said in an interview, speaking on condition of anonymity. For the first time since 2011, Baupost is asking clients for more money to buy aggressively, and recently put $1.5 billion into depressed assets.

A spokesperson for the fund declined to comment.

Billionaire Kenneth Griffin was one of the first to warn of the COVID-19 outbreak’s dangers, and his hedge fund Citadel has gone so as far as to create a specific investment vehicle for assets battered by the virus fallout.

However, the funds’ bets may not pay off since it is unclear how many investors are interested in taking risks as many are putting their money into safe assets.


Arab News recording exposes Nissan lawyer’s lie on IMF bailout for Lebanon

Updated 01 June 2020

Arab News recording exposes Nissan lawyer’s lie on IMF bailout for Lebanon

LONDON: Arab News has published the recording of an interview with a Nissan lawyer after he denied saying that a bailout of Lebanon by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was linked to the extradition of fugitive tycoon Carlos Ghosn.

The former Nissan chairman fled to Beirut in December from Japan, where he faced charges of financial wrongdoing.

In a story published in Arab News Japan on Saturday, Sakher El Hachem, Nissan’s legal representative in Lebanon, said the multibillion-dollar IMF bailout was contingent on Ghosn being handed back to Japan. 

The lawyer said IMF support for Lebanon required Japan’s agreement. Lebanese officials had told him: “Japan will assist Lebanon if Ghosn gets extradited,” the lawyer said

“For Japan to agree on that they want the Lebanese authorities to extradite Ghosn, otherwise they won’t provide Lebanon with financial assistance. Japan is one of the IMF’s major contributors … if Japan vetoes Lebanon then the IMF won’t give Lebanon money, except after deporting Ghosn.”

On Sunday, El Hachem denied making the comments. “The only thing I told the newspaper was that there should have been a court hearing on April 30 in Lebanon, but it was postponed because of the pandemic,” he said. In response, Arab News published the recording of the interview, in which he can be clearly heard making the statements attributed to him. 

Japan issued an arrest warrant after Ghosn, 66, escaped house arrest and fled the country.

Now listen to the recording: