On March 1st, 2017, the New York Post reported the suicide of Kevin Bell, head of credit risk at British hedge fund Arrowgrass Capital Partners LLP. He had previously worked at Saba Capital Management, Citadel Investment group, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank, according to his Linkedinpage. An investigation into Arrowgrass Capital Partners in the aftermath of his death has revealed that Arrowgrass was connected to think tanks tied to DNC propaganda chief David Brock, has ties to a number to individuals and corporations with histories of fraudulent financial activity and uses a web developer which appears to be a shell company. Mr. Bell’s suicide provides a glimpse into a more shadowy element of the finance world where the line between legitimate business and organized crime becomes increasingly thin.
Arrowgrass Capital Partners appears to have had a number of employees present at their firm who had recently come from Sabu Capital Management. In November 2015, Bloomberg reported that Paul Andorio, a former partner at Sabu, was joining Arrowgrass to work alongside Bell in credit risk. Andorio was one of multiple former Sabu employees who had recently moved to Arrowgrass after the firm had lost several employees in its credit trading group.
The presence of multiple former employees from Sabu at Arrowgrass is interesting given the colorful history of Sabu’s founder. Boaz Weinstein is a chess and gambling savant turned hedge fund manager. Weinstein has achieved a legendary status in the financial world, although his career has been marked by controversy. In 2012, the New York Times reported that Weinstein was one of a number of traders who benefitted from a “hunch” about multi-billion dollar losses incurred by JP Morgan after a number of bad transactions that were booked through its London branch. Mr. Weinstein was also accused of fraud in 2015 by Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) after Saba Capital reduced the value of PSP’s portfolio right before paying out on a redemption request, marking the value back up shortly after the money was cashed out.
Weinstein’s connections to the world of organized crime were revealed when it emerged that he was a member of a private, high stakes poker group along with billionaire and Avenue Capital Group cofounder Marc Lasry. In 2013, Lasry was forced to withdraw his name from a list of contenders for Obama’s U.S. Ambassador to France when it emerged that the FBI was sniffing around his “close friendship” with Illya Trincher. Trinchner, an alleged Russian mobster, was arrested along with three dozen others in connection with a $100 million betting and money-laundering scheme that included Hollywood personalities accused of facilitating illegal gambling events for celebrities such as Tobey Maguire, Matt Damon, and Leonardo DiCaprio and was laundering money through a Carlyle hotel art gallery. Lasry’s Avenue Capital Group has teamed up with Donald Trump in the past as Trump attempted to navigate the mob-controlled gambling scene in Atlantic City. Weinstein’s various connections to crime figures and his penchant for courting accusations of fraud raise questions about why Arrowgrass was bringing on so many employees from Sabu Capital Management in the years before Mr. Bell’s suicide.
The head of Arrowgrass Capital Partners, Michael Edwards, is also affiliated with centrist think tank Third Way. Despite its purported mission to return politics to a more neutral, middle of the road environment, Third Way recieves most of its funding from Wall Street donors and in effect serves as little more than an outlet for ideas which promote the interests of their donors. Third Way and other special interest-supported figures such as David Brock have been widely panned by the media for promoting censorship and propaganda instead of substantive ideas. Brock has directly involved Third Way in conferences held with donors in the past and is utilizing Third Way employees in efforts to help the DNC regain power in the 2018 congressional elections.
In addition to having ties to firms with suspicious connections, the group providing online support for Arrowgrass appears to be a front organization, listing an address that leads to a small, nondescript building as its office despite having a multitude of large name clients in finance. Arrowgrass’ website lists CAPTEC Systems as its web developer. CAPTEC’s other clients include several Swiss accounts such as Argentière Capital, set up in 2013 by J.P. Morgan’s former global head of prop trading Deepak Gulati, and LindenGrove Capital. LindenGrove was founded by Borut Miklavcic, the former head of global inflation trading business at the infamous Lehman Brothers who also began his career at JP Morgan.
An examination of the listed address on CAPTEC Systems’ website leads to a small structure in Oxford, England that does not even feature CAPTEC’s logo on the exterior. The nondescript, ramshackle building is odd given CAPTEC’s role as a web developer for several multibillion dollar corporations.
The apparent anomalies with Arrowgrass’ web developer and its connections to various Swiss groups run by individuals tied to companies involved in the 2008 financial crisis creates questions about what appears to be either a front company with no real place of business or CAPTEC’s attempt to conceal the true location of their office.
It is not clear what caused Mr. Bell to take his own life earlier this month, although in 2015 a deal with Foundation Capital to buy Deutsche Bank’s stake in Arrowgrass Capital came undone amid speculation that Arrowgrass’ principals did not wish to dilute their ownership, and that the head executive of Foundation was facing a contempt-of-court order over debts he owed to Los Angeles based City National Bank. While an anonymous source informed the New York Post that Bell was depressed, Arrowgrass’ use of an apparent shell company for their web development and the presence of a number of employees at Arrowgrass from Sabu Capital Management raises concerns given the accusations of fraud that have been levied against the group and their founder’s connections to figures involved in organized crime.