Tuesday, September 25, 2007

From Russia With Cash: Seeding a Hedge Fund

From the HeraldTribune (FL):
Russian multimillionaire, well-connected energy magnate and nascent hedge fund manager — smiles broadly in a Manhattan restaurant as a lawyer, a lobbyist, an economist and a former congressman praise him over shots of vodka and a lavish spread of lamb, salmon and beef tenderloin.

They toast Mr. Vavilov, 46, as an architect of Russia’s fledgling market economy and a maverick financier whose philanthropic contributions to universities in the United States and abroad have produced important financial research.

“Congratulations on your newest venture, this hedge fund of yours,” says Thomas B. Evans Jr., a former Republican representative from Delaware. “I mean, I don’t know much about it, but I am sure it will be a big success.”

If Mr. Evans is hoping to learn more about Mr. Vavilov’s new fund, the IFS Hedge Fund, he may have a long wait. Throughout his career, Mr. Vavilov’s bookishness — he is fond of wire-rimmed glasses and a buzz cut — has belied his reputation as a shrewd back-room operator whose business and political relationships have followed a circuitous and largely silent path from Moscow to London to New York.

Even by the standards of hedge fund managers, whose activities are often shrouded in secrecy, Mr. Vavilov occupies uniquely murky territory — at the intersection of shadowy Russian oil riches and fast money on Wall Street....MORE