Hedge Fund Euro Collusion Probe Dropped

Aug 23 2010 | 2:07pm ET

No hedge fund will face charges stemming from an “idea dinner” in February where hedge fund managers were alleged to have colluded against the euro.

The U.S. Justice Dept. has told several of the hedge funds involved—which included Greenlight Capital, Paulson & Co., SAC Capital Advisors and Soros Fund Management—that it has dropped the six-month probe, which it launched after an article in The Wall Street Journal described the confab.

In February, the Justice Dept. sent letters to several top hedge funds advising that it “has opened an investigation into agreements among various hedge funds that trade euro contacts” and directed the hedge funds to “preserve all documents” relating to the euro. At the Feb. 8 dinner in Manhattan, sponsored by boutique brokerage Monness Crespi Hardt, SAC’s Aaron Cohen reportedly made the case for betting against the euro. The meeting also include a talk on Greek debt.

Among the attendees were Greenlight Capial’s David Einhorn, who blasted the Journal’s article as “sensationalist” and “yellow journalism.”

Einhorn said he was misquoted by the newspaper, and that the Journal refused to run a correction. He also took aim at the article’s portrayal of the idea dinner as one dominated by talk of the euro.

“The discussion of one manager’s view about the euro lasted a total of about three minutes,” Greenlight wrote in its first-quarter letter to investors. “David did not mention gold or inflation—which the Journal reporter probably knew, as she had inquired about CIT [Group, a Greenlight portfolio company.]”

“Apparently, our decline to comment left her feeling she had free reign to report whatever she wanted,” the hedge fund went on. “That is shameful.”

The Journal has defended the article, calling Greenlight’s complaints “baseless.”


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