Wednesday 22 November 2017

Odey one of the most successful financiers in UK

Thomas Molloy

Thomas Molloy

CRISPIN Odey, the London financier singled out by Brian Lenihan for criticism yesterday, is one of London's most successful hedge-fund managers.

He has made a fortune lately by correctly guessing what we all now know; that banks such as Anglo Irish are zombies which would collapse without state aid.

Harrow and Oxford-educated Mr Odey, pictured, is among the most famous of London's financial figures because of his marriage to one of Britain's wealthiest banking dynasties and his successful bets that many British and Irish banks would fail.

This year, he awarded himself a bonus of almost £28m (€30.4m) after his investments came right for his clients, an award that beefed up his £300m personal fortune another notch. The 50-year-old cuts a conservative figure in the informal world of hedge funds, preferring pinstripe suits to the jeans and T-shirts favoured by many in the industry.

Many people are suspicious of hedge funds but the truth is that most of them simply exploit existing problems in the financial system.

Mr Lenihan suggested yesterday that Mr Odey did not have Ireland's interests at heart.

In fact, as we all know now, it was the people who were lying about the banking sector who endangered this country, not the people who disbelieved the lies.

It is probably fair to say that Ireland would be a much wealthier country today if Mr Lenihan had listened to the likes of Mr Odey rather than the bank officials who assured the Department of Finance that all was well until their banks suddenly went belly- up.

But is Mr Odey somehow planning to fund a defeat of the Lisbon Treaty this Friday?

It seems unlikely. There is no evidence, for example, that Mr Odey has given any money to the Libertas campaign against Lisbon or the party's Irish branch.

What we do know (thanks to the British rules on party political donations) is that Mr Odey appears to be one of those wealthy men who like to dabble in politics.

His last regulatory filing shows that in the three months to June he gave £25,000 to the Christian party whose slogan is "Proclaiming Christ's Lordship" as well as £18,000 to Libertas EU and £30,000 to David Cameron's Conservatives.

All three parties share a varying degree of scepticism about the European project.

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