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21 Feb 2008

Tremont Hires FoHF Specialist

Tremont Capital Management announced the appointment of fund of hedge fund specialist Susan Crotty as Managing Director of Investment Management Services.

“Sue’s extensive experience consulting to a wide variety of institutions on fund of hedge fund investing, her understanding of what investors are seeking to accomplish with their alternatives strategy, and her knowledge of our industry delivers tremendous benefits to our clients,” said Rupert Allan, Tremont’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

“We set out to scale our operations as we grow fund of hedge fund assets, expand our global footprint and deliver excellence in investment management,” said Allan. “We have taken some very exciting steps to insure that we have the right senior team in place to achieve those goals.”

Crotty was formerly Senior Vice President, Alternatives Practice Leader, at Callan Associates. Prior to her tenure at Callan, she was a Managing Director at Ark Asset Management and a Senior Consultant at Hamilton & Company. She is also a member of the Investment Committee for the State of New Jersey Pension System. Crotty will report to Robert Stone, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Sales.

Tremont also has offices in London, Toronto and Hong Kong. Tremont operating subsidiaries are regulated around the world by the U.S.’s Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority, the Ontario Securities Commission and the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.

TCI Challenges Japanese Government On Foreign Investments

UK hedge fund TCI has challenged Japanese attempts to control foreign investments. In a bid to boost its stake in Japanese utility J-Power to up to 20 percent, the Children's Investment Fund, or TCI, has been pressuring the electricity wholesaler to improve corporate governance.

The activist investor has even said in a statement that it would take the Japanese government to court if it rejected its bid. The standoff between TCI and the government over the electricity wholesaler is being watched closely as a test for how open Japan is to foreign investment.

Foreign investors who are seeking stakes above 10% in sectors that Japan considers fundamental to national security such as utilities, arms, nuclear power equipment and aircraft must seek government approval.

J-Power plans to complete its first nuclear power plant in 2012.

TCI, named after its donations to children's charities, manages over $10 billion of assets globally.

Hedge Fund Managers Indicted

Five individuals who defrauded hedge fund investors of more than $200 million dollars have been indicted on charges of conspiracy and wire fraud, according to an FBI release.

Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta of the Southern District of Florida named the hedge fund managers in the indictment as Michael Lauer, Martin Garvey, and Eric Hauser, co-owners of management companies which directed the hedge funds, and Laurence Isaacson and Milton Barbarosh, who had financial interests in Boca Raton, Fla.-based “shell” companies in which the hedge funds invested.

All of the defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail, wire and securities fraud and six counts of wire fraud. If convicted, each of the defendants faces a maximum sentence of 20 years and a $250,000 fine for each count of wire fraud and five years and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy count. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of their criminal proceeds.

According to the indictment, Lauer, as founder and primary manager, formed and directed several hedge funds, collectively known as the Lancer Group hedge funds. From October 1999 to July 2003, Lauer and his co-defendants manipulated the closing market price of thinly-traded shell company securities to falsely inflate the value of the Lancer Group hedge funds. Lauer, Isaacson, and Barborosh identified “shell” companies, including ones owned by Barbarosh, in which the Lancer Group would buy large quantities of “restricted” stock at pennies per share in private transactions.

Lauer, Garvey and Hauser next directed brokers to buy a small amount of the same securities for the Lancer Group at a much higher open market price and to make additional small purchases to drive up the price to a closing “target price.” Lauer then falsely valued all of the securities held by the Lancer Group, including those restricted shares obtained for pennies per share, at the much higher closing price, which falsely boosted the 20 percent performance fees paid to the management companies; induced new investors to buy into the funds; and kept existing investors in the funds.

To cover up and perpetuate the scheme, the indictment alleges, Lauer also created fake portfolios of the securities supposedly held by the Lancer Group and obtained falsely inflated appraisals of the shell companies through Isaacson and Barbarosh.

An indictment is merely a charge. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.