The Disaster Capitalism Club part 1: Vote Leave Backers Who Made Billions from Brexit
While the post Brexit windfalls of ERG leader Jacob Rees-Mogg have been under scrutiny, these are a drop in the ocean compared to his former partner Crispin Odey and associates
A Channel 4 Dispatches documentary alleged that Jacob Rees-Mogg earned at least £7 million from management fees and investor returns on the multi-billion Somerset Capital Management fund. But Byline Times can reveal that this pales in comparison with his former investor Crispin Odey who, along with his partner James Hanbury, made £350 million in the wake of the surprise vote to leave the European Union in June 2016.
That’s nearly half a billion dollars overnight.
The relationship between Rees-Mogg and Odey highlights the role of up to 300 hedge fund owners, investors and city traders who actively campaigned for Brexit and cashed in on the result.
Crispin Odey, formerly married to Rupert Murdoch’s oldest daughter, Prudence, claimed that he made a fortune of £220 million by shorting the pound and moving 65% of his fund into gold in anticipation of the shock result in June 2016. James Hanbury, who manages £1.1 billion for Odey Asset Management, made £110 million.
The day after the vote, Crispin Odey told the BBC: “There’s that Italian expression – ‘Il
Odey’s Role in the Rise of Rees-Mogg
Ten years ago Crispin Odey incubated Rees-Mogg’s Somerset Capital Management at start-up and handled all transactions at cost while it was waiting for regulatory approval. Odey also donated to Rees-Mogg’s parliamentary election campaign. Odey Asset Management divested from Somerset in March 2016, three months before the EU referendum, during which Odey donated more than £870,000 to pro Leave groups.
Odey Asset Management refused to comment on the divestment, although Somerset Capital Management said this was a normal practice, allowing the company to expand its partners.
Odey said he would be investing in Brexit not happening, though also warned a ‘revolution‘ would ensue if it didn’t.
A spokesperson refused to disclose further details of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s earnings, but told Byline Times that the MP for North East Somerset had not played an active part in the fund for some time and was winding down his involvement.
They also emphasised that the fund was exclusively focused on emerging markets in which Brexit would have made little impact. They refused to comment on the allegation that the fund was heavily invested in Russia which, according to reports from the European Parliament and US Congress, intervened in the EU referendum to encourage Brexit.
This January, Odey told Reuters that both he and Peter Hargreaves (the second biggest donor to the leave campaigns) expected Britain to stay in the EU after all. Odey said he would be investing in Brexit not happening, though also warned a ‘revolution‘ would ensue if it didn’t.
Gains for the Few: Losses for the Many
The relationship between Rees-Mogg and Odey highlights the role of up to 300 hedge fund owners, investors and city traders in the Business Council for Vote Leave and City for Britain group who actively campaigned for Brexit and cashed in on the result.
While this elite group have profited from the last three years of economic uncertainty, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, estimated that real household incomes have dropped almost £1,000 from expected since the Brexit vote. The Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics forecast that the average household could lose between £2,519 to £5,573 per year from real incomes over the next 15 years.
Part Two of the Disaster Capitalism Club: Sir Paul Marshall and Michael Gove