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Ken Griffin oppo dump!

Wednesday, Mar 30, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Athletic has published a profile of the Ricketts family and Ken Griffin, who have placed a joint bid to take over the Chelsea Football Club from Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich after Abramovich was disqualified as a director

Underpinning the rise of Citadel has been Griffin’s burning desire to win, his intolerance of failure and, above all, his ruthless pursuit of profit that has taken the company down some unsavoury paths. […]

[In 2007], Citadel provided $110 million (£84 million) in convertible loans to China Security and Surveillance Technology. The company, which used the money to acquire 10 of the 50 biggest surveillance companies in China, has been accused of providing much of the surveillance infrastructure for the ruling Chinese Communist Party, including technology used to alert police of possible unsanctioned protests and monitoring of internet cafes to track down democracy advocates and dissidents. Citadel declined to comment when the New York Times reported the loans. […]

Others have been less generous in their assessment. In an email sent to Griffin in 2005, rival hedge fund manager Dan Loeb likened Citadel to a “gulag” (a system of forced labour camps in the Soviet Union) and added: “You are surrounded by sycophants, but even you must know that the people who work for you despise and resent you. I assume you know this because I have read the employment agreements that you make people sign.” […]

Griffin’s public criticism of the wave of gun crime in Chicago in recent years jars with the fact that Citadel has invested millions in Storm Ruger & Co and Smith & Wesson Brands Inc, two of the leading manufacturers of guns seized by Chicago Police, as well as every major manufacturer of ammunition in the US. Citadel also invests in GEO Group and CoreCivic, private prison operators that run immigration detention centres, despite other US financial institutions cutting ties with both.

When questioned about these investments by WBEZ last month, a Citadel spokesperson said Griffin doesn’t have a role in the company’s stock choices, adding that the investments make up less than 0.01 per cent of the company’s portfolio and therefore that linking them with violent crime in Chicago is “quite a stretch”. […]

Citadel also significantly increased its investment in pharmaceutical companies Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and NovaVax in the weeks before then-president Donald Trump announced Operation Warp Speed, pledging $10 billion (£7.6 billion) of government funds to COVID-19 vaccine development. […]

Despite his staggering wealth, everything in his professional history indicates Griffin will only spend on Chelsea what he believes he will get back in the long run.

Lots more in there about Griffin and the Ricketts family, including exculpatory stuff, so go read it all. But that Chinese Communist Party surveillance thing really sticks out for me.


  1. - ZC - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 10:49 am:

    It’s interesting when you tell them, “You invest in really shady stuff,” and they respond, “But we’re also super-rich, look at how many investments we have, so that makes it OK.”

  2. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 10:55 am:

    Tom, Todd and Pete Ricketts are trying to convince the British that they hardly know Joe Ricketts, and Griff is trying to tell us he doesn’t make investment decisions for Citadel.

    Quite a stretch indeed.

  3. - Anyone Remember - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 11:04 am:

    Has there ever been an examination of how Griffin did in the 2008 Mortgage Crisis? Generally, those who made money shorted housing.

  4. - Annonin' - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 11:06 am:

    We were left wondering why we don’t recall the sleazy investment stuff being reported by IL media?
    Perhaps someone could ’splain

  5. - Big Dipper - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 11:11 am:

    If it’s such a tiny percentage of your portfolio you should have no issue with staying away from it.

  6. - Roadrager - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 11:14 am:

    All those years as a part of Derby County, and then scouting for ownership in the Premier League, and the Ricketts never figured out that buying a European football club is not like buying an American pro sports team, where the only bar to clear is the approval of the fellow billionaires whose league you are attempting to enter.

    If that were the case, Chelsea, Arsenal, and ten of their biggest European counterparts would be sucking up millions in their Super League right now.

  7. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 11:26 am:

    ===being reported by IL media?===

    Probably for the same reason that the internal Pritzker family fight was broken wide open by a media outlet far away from Chicago.

  8. - ElTacoBandito - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 11:34 am:

    ==not like buying an American pro sports team, where the only bar to clear is the approval of the fellow billionaires whose league you are attempting to enter.==

    I’d argue it’s even less of a bar there. Saudi Arabia just bought Newcastle and the UAE owns Man City. They’re just as happy there to add a new questionable billionaire to their league that will make them billions more.

    You also don’t even need to be liked by the fans. See Arsenal/Kroenkes, Man United/Glazers. Rickets and Griffin would fit in just fine in that league.

  9. - SweetLou86 - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 11:34 am:

    Considering Citadel’s total assets are estimated at $45B, 0.01% is still $45M. That may not be much money to Ken Griffin, but to us plebs it’s still a fortune

  10. - Norseman - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 11:46 am:

    I can see it now. Primary ad saying: Irvin connected to China (play Trump pronunciation in your head) through billionaire sugar daddy.

  11. - ZC - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 11:54 am:

    I don’t subscribe to The Athletic. Do they also get into Citadel’s investments in Rumble (as reported by Mark Maxwell)? At the time the news was vaccine disinformation, but now Rumble is passing along Putin’s talking points re Ukraine.

  12. - Back totheFuture - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 12:00 pm:

    Anyone Remember
    Good Question on Citadel and the Mortgage crisis.
    Very few people made money in the mortgage crisis. The best summary of what happened to Citadel that I am aware of is an interview of Ken Griffin by David Rubenstein, the founder of the Carlyle Group and a well known interviewer. You can find it on You Tube. The interview is only a couple of weeks old and was also referred to right here in Capitol Fax.
    Citidel got hit very hard (like most firms) and was in a difficult way, but survived. The interview covers that time period in more detail.

  13. - Annonin' - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 12:15 pm:

    Capt Fax do mean out of town media can dig deeper or that IL media is just so dazzled by the ‘Riffie loot?

    The mortgage scandals are a good spot to look. Always remember GovJunk was put in charge of a bank in GA and said they had few sub prime (aka junk) loans. Turns out they were overloaded and crashed before the Cheney-Bush depression grabbed everyone. GovJunk slipped away, CEO got bags of $$$. Workers got gift cards. Bheeturnedfeweveewcompany

  14. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 12:18 pm:

    The two people Illinois voters are going to get to know quite a bit by November seem to be Darren Bailey and Ken Griffin.

    I dunno if either, in the end, are gonna like notoriety, but Griffin will still be ridiculously wealthy, Bailey might be wholly out of Illinois politics.

  15. - SpeculativeRisk - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 12:22 pm:

    Ken Griffin and Citadel - making money - All Good.
    Ken Griffen trying to buy a Slate of Fools into public office - All Bad.

  16. - City Zen - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 12:39 pm:

    I take it none of you will be attending the grand opening of the Ken Griffin wing at the NYC Museum of Natural History?

  17. - Streator Curmudgeon - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 12:40 pm:

    “…will only spend on Chelsea what he believes he will get back in the long run.”

    And he bankrolls political candidates, why?

  18. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 12:44 pm:

    Ken Griffin is not a moral person. Payment for order flow is literally about making a profit by causing the person placing the order to pay more than the actual price/value of the security they’re purchasing in the market at that time. It is fundamentally dishonest and does not provide any value or service.

  19. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 12:46 pm:

    ===I take it none of you will be attending===

    The wealthy throws some crumbs, we all should be grateful and overlook ethical choices?

    Interesting take.

  20. - Google Is Your Friend - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 1:13 pm:

    It simply is not believable that Griffin has no role in picking his investment company’s investments.

  21. - Back to the Future - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 1:22 pm:

    Generally like your comments. They are thoughtful and I usually learn something from them. You were my second choice for commentary after OW, who often disagrees with me but got extra points for his sense of humor last year.
    Gotta say your judgment that Ken Griffin is not a moral person apparently based on payment for order flow is a bit off base.
    Somebody has to pay for the friction involved in buying stocks and payment for order flow is one way that is done. You can pick a broker that is not involved in that approach to cost sharing, but you generally have to pay a commission.
    Not sure why you think this way of trading is dishonest. We have had numerous congressional hearings on this going back at least a decade and payment for order flow is still a way an investor can enter the market.
    I do get that payment for order flow is something you have problems with, but folks involved in it be they retail investors or order execution folks are really not doing anything dishonest or immoral. Citidel, a Chicago based firm, does somewhere between 25% and 40% of all equity trades that are done on a daily basis and perhaps you should give some credit to investors that know where the best execution deal is for their trades.

  22. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 1:25 pm:

    Storm Ruger & Co and Smith & Wesson Brands Inc,

    Those happen to be two of the most popular brands of firearms. Each and everyone that is sold is subject to a criminal background check. They also are used in self defense and shooting sports like range shooting. so any investment in theses companies is legit. No when criminals steal weapons and use them in crimes that is not their fault.

  23. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 2:02 pm:

    @Donnie Elgin thinks guns used in crimes are stolen? Would be nice to see the data on that. Straw purchases are not theft. For starters.

    Griffin is helping the Chinese internal security effort to suppress dissent? Interesting look. I guess the gop is cool with that?

  24. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 2:25 pm:

    ===Each and everyone that is sold is subject to a criminal background check.===

    Even at gun shows in Indiana?

  25. - MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 2:51 pm:

    How could Griffin have possibly known that his $110 million loan to China Security and Surveillance Technology would be used by Chinese security forces to purchase technology to conduct surveillance on the Chinese people?

    Poor guy was probably blindsided.

    – MrJM

  26. - MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 2:52 pm:

    “why we don’t recall the sleazy investment stuff being reported by IL media?”

    WBEZ is based in Chicago.

    “so any investment in theses companies is legit.”

    No one suggested that they weren’t.

    They are suggesting that Griffin is a raging hypocrite on the subjects of guns and gun violence.

    – MrJM

  27. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 30, 22 @ 5:14 pm:

    When do we do Citadel’s ties to the Russian Oligarchs, or did I miss that already?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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