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Hedge Fund Bear Crispin Odey Made $18 Million Betting Against Wirecard

Nishant Kumar
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Hedge Fund Bear Crispin Odey Made $18 Million Betting Against Wirecard

(Bloomberg) -- Hedge fund manager Crispin Odey’s winning run with his short-selling bets continued this week as wagers against digital payments company Wirecard AG paid off.

Odey Asset Management made an estimated $18 million, at least on paper, on Wednesday when Wirecard shares were battered by allegations of executive fraud. In its largest disclosed short by value, the hedge fund reported a $131.8 million position as of Jan. 30 betting that Wirecard would drop, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Representatives for the London-based hedge fund and Wirecard declined to comment.

The Wirecard trade adds to Odey’s string of recent successes in wagering against companies such as Metro Bank Plc and Intu Properties Plc. His firm stood to make about 19 million pounds when the British lender tumbled by a record last week upon disclosing that it had misclassified assets. He was also the largest short seller in Intu when it slumped in November after Brookfield Property Group venture abandoned a takeover. Odey closed a long running short bet against the pound recently.

Short sellers typically sell borrowed securities in the hope of buying them back at lower prices and pocketing the difference as profit. Such wagers helped Odey’s flagship fund return 53 percent last year after losing money for three previous years, a person with knowledge of the matter said last month. His firm has disclosed bets against 25 companies worth more than $1 billion, Bloomberg data show.

Wirecard has denied allegations made by the Financial Times that a senior Wirecard executive was suspected of using forged contracts, but concerns about the digital payments company’s business practices knocked as much as 25 percent off its value on Wednesday, though the stock ended the day down 13.3 percent. German financial regulator BaFin said Thursday it will look for signs of possible market manipulation.

On Friday, a new report that a law firm found evidence of alleged forgery at the German firm sent shares of Wirecard plummeting 27 percent in Frankfurt.

Odey Asset Management previously wagered against Wirecard between 2014 and 2016, and shorted as much as 1.9 percent of the company’s shares in November 2014, according to German’s Federal Gazette for official announcements.

(Updates with Wirecard shares in penultimate paragraph.)

--With assistance from Stefan Nicola.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nishant Kumar in London at nkumar173@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Shelley Robinson at ssmith118@bloomberg.net, Chitra Somayaji

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