REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin A boy in Red Square, with St. Basil's Cathedral in the background, in central Moscow, on Dec. 25. The value of the ruble isn't the only thing that is vanishing in Russia. A Moscow hedge fund chief executive has disappeared, along with all the money in the firm's accounts.
That's according to a stunning feature in The Wall Street Journal. Kim Karapetyan, 29, the youthful founder of Blackfield Capital CJSC, has disappeared, much to the dismay of his staff, which didn't know until a group of men charged into the firm's plush offices.
From The Journal:
The firm’s employees didn’t know anything was amiss until mid-October, when three men charged into Blackfield’s offices in an upscale complex along the Moscow River in central Moscow, said people who were there.
The men, who didn't identify themselves, said they were looking for Blackfield's 29-year-old founder, Kim Karapetyan, according to the people who were there.
But Mr. Karapetyan wasn't in the office that day or the next, when senior executives explained to the staff of about 50 that there was no longer any money to pay their salaries, said one former senior executive and ex-employees. The executives disclosed that all the money in the company accounts — some $20 million, including investor cash — was also missing, they said. It couldn't be determined whether investors were from Russia or other countries.
"Our CEO just … disappeared," said Sergey Grebenkin, one of the firm's software developers, in an interview.
No attempts to contact or find Karapetyan were successful, and he is still MIA. The company's website brags that its "systematic investment process helps avoid human-factor, cognitive-biases, and emotional-trading errors," but the CEO running away with all your money seems like a fairly big human error.
Karapetyan is a bit of a playboy: He flew the early-2000s boyband Blue into Russia for a company New Year's Eve performance in 2013 and paid $15,000 (£9,800) per month for a flat in New York's financial district, setting a record for rent per square foot in the area. He also instructed US employees of the fund to buy an Aston Martin Vanquish.
Wikimedia Commons An Aston Martin Vanquish.
Since Karapetyan went missing, The Wall Street Journal found some incredible inconsistencies in his career history, too. He said he had worked at Morgan Stanley as a portfolio manager and graduated with a master's degree from the London School of Economics. Neither institution has any record of him.
Apparently until recently Blackfield had rented out 18 offices on the 46th floor of 7 World Trade Center in New York, with a view to expansions in the US. The firm also planned a London expansion, but unless he's hiding in a Kensington basement, it seems likely that the fund will be making that move anytime soon.
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