Futures association chief Anthony Belchambers to step down
Philip Stafford – FT.com
Anthony Belchambers is to step down as chief executive of the Futures and Options Association, the European markets trade association he founded more than 20 years ago.
***** Congratulations to Anthony Belchambers on a terrific run as head of the FOA. Also, take a look at JLN’s interview with Mr. Belchambers from last month at jlne.ws/1d0BTUB
FOA announces change of leadership
NYSE Euronext sells entire MCX stake in December quarter
Global exchange giant NYSE Euronext has sold its entire of around 5% stake in the Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX) for about Rs 100 crore during October-December quarter.
***** ICE gets out of MCX and the FTIL fit and proper problem in India, while picking up SMX in Singapore. I would say this is timely and strategic trading.
Money Flows to the Biggest Buyout Funds
WILLIAM ALDEN – NYTimes.com
Half of all capital raised for private equity buyouts in 2013 went to the biggest funds, according to data released on Friday by Preqin, a research firm based in London.
***** And who raised the other two thirds?
Time is nigh to rethink the role of benchmarks
Rosa M. Abrantes-Metz – FT.com
Worldwide investigations into financial benchmarks have been under way for years now and the list of suspect benchmarks continues to grow.
***** It is hard to compete unless you have something to compete against.
Virtu’s ‘Vinnie’ Steps Onto Center Ice
Through a blend of West Point rigor and Wall Street bravura, Vincent Viola pulled off a rare maneuver: amassing a billion-dollar fortune while staying largely beneath the radar. That is changing fast, as Mr. Viola is set to take his trading firm public, casting a spotlight on his management style and rise to Wall Street power broker.
***** I have great respect for Vinnie Viola. He is one of the best examples of success after the futures trading floors decline in New York. He is an example of someone who has continued to grow and prosper while managing the multitude of changes that have impacted our markets and industry.
ASX managed funds services gets ASIC nod
The Australian Securities Exchange has cleared the most significant hurdle on the road to its ‘mFund Settlement Service’ – the third incarnation of AQUA II – after the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) gave it the go-ahead.
***** Sometimes when you get the regulator to nod, it is just them nodding off.
Gary DeWaal’s Bridging the Week: January 6 – 10 and 13, 2014 (Those Darn Red Flags, CFTC FCM Relief, Steve Jobs)
Missed “red flags” again have raised regulators’ ire and contributed to criminal charges being filed against two entities. The problem is that many “red flags” are not as obvious as regulators may think until they are viewed in isolation, often only after a problem already has occurred.
Need Cash? Own a Bentley? Take a Pawn Ticket
PAUL SULLIVAN – NYTimes.com
Walk into the Suttons & Robertsons showroom on the East Side of Manhattan and it looks like any high-end retailer or auction house: necklaces glittering with diamonds, sapphires and emeralds fill the display cases, and sterling silver knives, forks and spoons sit on a wooden table fit for a monarch. In the private room in back are bigger, shinier versions of the jewels out front.
***** I guess this is a story about a collateral management firm?
Teaching Your Kids to Be Rich
Getting rich is hard enough. But teaching the next generation how to be rich is tricky, too. More people are confronting that issue as the booming stock market, an improving economy and the success of young companies such as Twitter and Facebook swell the ranks of the well-off.
***** Teaching your children to be rich has nothing to do with money.
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Deutsche Börse deepens push into Asia commodities
Philip Stafford in London – FT.com
Deutsche Börse is deepening its push into commodities trading in Asia by taking a majority stake in Cleartrade Exchange, the Singapore-based commodity derivatives bourse.
London Pushes Nasdaq Off Runner-Up Slot for IPOs
Anna Irrera – MoneyBeat – WSJ
The London Stock Exchange’s flood of new listings in 2013 made it the second-biggest exchange for IPOs globally measured by money raised, according to Dealogic.
NYSE, ATG Brazilian Equities Exchange Pushes Back Launch
A joint venture of NYSE Euronext and Americas Trading Group has pushed back its deadline for launching an equities trading exchange in Brazil as the startup grapples with the task of breaking a monopoly that has lasted for more than a decade.
Global Banking Regulators Agree to Ease Capital Rule
Global banking regulators agreed on Sunday to ease a new rule, meant to rein in risky balance sheets starting in 2018, in an effort to avoid tightening financing for the world’s economy. The decision by the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision is the latest sign of how regulators have become more willing to accommodate banks as the focus switches to helping economies recover.
LME looking to launch U.S. aluminum premium contract
The London Metal Exchange is considering launching a U.S. aluminum premium contract, a senior executive said, potentially expanding its most-traded product after years of criticism over high physical prices.
Wall St. Shock: Take a Day Off, Even a Sunday
WILLIAM ALDEN and SYDNEY EMBER – NYTimes.com
For the ambitious college graduates who flock to Wall Street, working into the wee hours or even pulling all-nighters is an unwritten expectation of the job. Spending both Saturdays and Sundays at the office is the norm.
Taking steps to rebuild Libor
Anish Puaar – Financial News
The reform of critical financial benchmarks will be a hot topic this year as the industry seeks to rebuild confidence following a series of scandals that led to billions in fines for some of the world’s largest institutions over the past two years.
ECB’s Draghi wins new central bank governor’s award
European Central Bank Governor Mario Draghi has won the inaugural Governor of the Year award for 2014 from specialist publication Central Banking, the London-based media group said on Monday.
Annika Falkengren: banking survivor with a trader’s gut instincts
Richard Milne in Stockholm – FT.com
One weekend late last year, Annika Falkengren received an email on her BlackBerry from a disgruntled customer. The customer complained that, on calling SEB’s telephone line, a voice had told them they were number 36 in line, irritating them greatly.
Markets run into fog of forward guidance
Satyajit Das – FT.com
A paucity of policy options facing central bankers has increased reliance on forward guidance; an oxymoron as any guidance must be about future events.
The ‘Gamification’ of the Office
The “gamification” of the workplace, tracking employees and awarding prizes for excellence or following procedures, sounds like fun but has the potential to stifle creativity and flexibility, writes Farhad Manjoo.
***JM: Absolutist hyperbole aside, I find it outrageously funny that the guy who’s promoting this idea has the last name of “Sims”.
Myron Marlin, Director of Communications, to Leave SEC
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Myron Marlin will be leaving the SEC after nearly five years as communications director, serving under chairs Mary Jo White, Elisse B. Walter, and Mary L. Schapiro.
EU regulations reach crunch time
Anish Puaar – Financial News
Sharon Bowles, the MEP chairing EU discussions on new rules for trading and markets, has said failure to reach an agreement at a crucial meeting this week would signal “deep trouble”.
Payment integration initiative delayed
Liz Salecka – Financial News
The Single Euro Payments Area initiative was designed to improve the efficiency of euro-denominated bank payments, but the way the change is being handled appears to be anything other than smooth. Last week the European Commission announced that it would extend the deadline for migration to Sepa instruments by six months.
Commodity traders not too big to fail, suggests FSB report
Alexander Osipovich – Risk.net
The Basel-based Financial Stability Board (FSB) has apparently backed away from the idea that global commodity trading houses are too big to fail, meaning such firms are likely to avoid the same sort of stringent regulation as the largest global banks and insurers.
Interpretive Guidance on Municipal Advisor Registration Rules
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that its Office of Municipal Securities has issued interpretive guidance to address questions from market participants regarding the implementation of new final SEC rules requiring municipal advisors to register with the SEC.
Exchanges & Trading Facilities
Hardware Failure Hits Nasdaq Options Data, Trading
Max Bowie – WatersTechnology
Nasdaq halted trading in options symbols starting with the letters A through M on its Nasdaq Options Market on the morning of Friday, Jan. 10, after the exchange experienced an issue with processing data from the Options Price Reporting Authority.
European Energy Exchange acquires majority stake in Cleartrade Exchange
The European Energy Exchange (EEX), the leading Energy Exchange in Europe, and Cleartrade Exchange (CLTX), a Singaporean Futures Exchange founded in 2010, today announced that an investment deal has been concluded. EEX has become the new majority shareholder, with a 52 % holding in CLTX.
London Stock Exchange Announces Improvements To International Order Book
London Stock Exchange today announced several important changes to its International Order Book – the world’s leading trading venue for Global Depository Receipts (GDRs) – to bring it in line with the SETS market, home to FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 index constituents.
Another Year of Significant Growth and Product Innovation in MSCI Futures on NYSE Liffe U.S.
• Record yearly volumes of 8.3M lots and notional average daily turnover of $1.9B
• Open Interest reached 346K, up 48% y-o-y, corresponding to a notional value of over $21B as of December 31, 2013
• 3-year CAGR for the NYSE Liffe U.S. MSCI futures complex of 26.7%
• New product listings provide greater global exposure and investment choices
Deutsche Börse acquires enterprise software firm Impendium Systems
Deutsche Börse Market Data + Services has acquired Impendium Systems, a London-based firm that deploys cloud-based software solutions to help customers’ achieve regulatory compliance in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.
Deutsche Börse Commodities: Xetra-Gold Again The ETC With The Highest Turnover On Xetra In 2013 – Interest In Exchange-Traded Gold Products Remains High
Eurex: Agricultural Derivatives Segment With Record Trading In 2013 – Increase Of 7 Percent Compared With 2012/ New Record Volumes In Potato And Dairy Futures
Vienna Stock Exchange Monthly Statistics – December 2013
Athens Exchange Monthly Statistical Bulletin December 2013
TOM MTF Statistics Week 2 – Increased Market Shares
NYSE Group Inc. Issues Short Interest Report
NASDAQ Announces End-Of-Month Open Short Interest Positions in NASDAQ Stocks As Of Settlement Date December 31, 2013
CBOE, CFE, C2, and CBSX Trading Schedule For the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
NYSE Euronext US exchanges to close in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Hedge Funds & Managed Futures
Trafigura passes baton to next generation of billionaire traders
Commodity trading giant Trafigura is going through a once-in-a-generation ownership reshuffle, spending billions of dollars to buy out its earliest shareholders and allocating stock to a new generation of would-be billionaire traders.
Litigation Finance Firm Raises $260 Million for New Fund
WILLIAM ALDEN – NYTimes.com
An upstart investment firm that bets on lawsuits has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for its second fund. The firm, Gerchen Keller Capital, is expected to announce on Monday that it has amassed about $260 million for the fund, bringing its total investor commitments to $310 million.
Pimco Total Return Fund lifts U.S. gov’t holdings to 45 pct-website
The Pimco Total Return Fund, the world’s largest bond fund, significantly increased its holdings of U.S. government-related debt in December even as continued selling pressure on the bonds contributed to the fund’s biggest annual loss in nearly two decades, data from the firm’s website showed on Friday.
Virtu Financial Filed Confidential IPO Documents
High-speed trading firm Virtu Financial Inc. has filed confidential documents setting the stage for an initial stock offering, with the goal of entering the public market as soon as April, according to people familiar with the matter.
Glenview Capital top hedge fund in 2013
Larry Robbins’ $1.8-billion Glenview Capital Opportunity Fund returned a whopping 84.2 per cent through October 31, 2013, which made it No. 1 in the annual Bloomberg Markets ranking of the best-performing large hedge funds.
Bond funds worldwide attract $5.3 bln inflow – BofA
Investors poured $5.3 billion into bond funds in the week ended Jan. 8, marking the biggest flows into the funds since May of last year, data from a Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research report showed on Friday.
Shadow Accounting Steps into the Spotlight
Ron Kashden – Wall Street & Technology
Investors have put pressure on hedge funds to ensure that accounting reports from independent administrators have been validated, leading firms to invest in shadow accounting environments, writes Ron Kashdon of Ingenious Initiatives.
Analysis: High-priced index funds? The worst deal for investors
David Randall – Reuters
When Vanguard founder Jack Bogle created the first index fund in 1974, the idea was to offer investors a cheap way to buy the performance of a broad market. That idea has caught on, especially recently: In 2013, everyone from 401(k) providers to mom and pop embraced index funds, sending almost $2 into them for every $1 they invested in actively managed funds, according to Morningstar.
Fresh approaches to foreign exchange
Joe McGrath – Financial News
Historically, institutional investors have been relatively unconcerned about the amount they pay for currency trades or how the organisations that provide those services make their money, but this has been changing of late.
For Wealth Advisors, One is the Most Important Number
Doug Winter – Wall Street & Technology
Finding ways to improve the client reporting and presentation process is vital for wealth managers who are juggling large client lists.
A long-term investment approach pays, says review
Mike Foster – Financial News
Pension schemes that take a long-term approach to investing in equities have handsomely beaten the index, according to a review by consultant Towers Watson.
Oil majors step up commodity derivatives market making in Asia as banks cut back
Alex Davis – Risk.net
BP, Shell and Total are among the oil majors that have increased their market-making presence in oil and oil product derivatives in Asia as banks have reduced their commodity businesses, according to market players.
New Citi research uses Euromoney scores to identify sovereign default risk and relative asset value
Jeremy Weltman – Euromoney magazine
Citi Research has released a detailed report combining its own econometric model with the output from Euromoney Country Risk to yield a new, more powerful tool for identifying default probabilities and relative value for sovereign issuers.
CFTC Commitments Of Traders Reports Update
Banks & Brokers
Citi’s European spot forex head trader Ramchandani out amid probe
Citigroup’s head of European spot foreign exchange trading, Rohan Ramchandani, has left the global bank, a spokesperson told Reuters on Friday.
Bank deposits poised to swell, thanks to EC rules
Liz Salecka – Financial News
European Commission proposals for the regulation of money market funds look set to drive radical changes in the sector, adversely affecting how European treasurers invest short-term cash surpluses. And the likely beneficiaries are banks.
Carlyle Hires UBS Executive for Market Strategies Group
WILLIAM ALDEN – NYTimes.com
The Carlyle Group, the big alternative investment firm based in Washington, has hired a UBS executive to bolster its capital markets expertise.
Investors warm to Spanish banks
Patrick Jenkins and Christopher Thompson – FT.com
A gulf is opening between the cost of funding for Spanish lenders and their less trusted Italian counterparts.
U.S. top court agrees to hear Argentina bank subpoenas case
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider a dispute over subpoenas in a case stemming from long-running litigation over Argentina’s obligations to bond investors in the wake of its default on $100 billion in sovereign debt in 2002.
Ex-Citadel Execution head joins Saxo Bank to lead institutional push
Matt Turner – Financial News
The former president of Citadel Execution Services Europe, who also previously held trading roles at Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs and part-owns a luxury Italian bike brand, has joined Saxo Bank to lead its push into the institutional market.
Meet the busiest man at Goldman Sachs
Matt Turner and Richard Partington – Financial News
For three years, colleagues joked that Charlie Burrows could often be found in the gym at Goldman Sachs’ London office. Then, in the second half of last year, the jokes stopped. The former HSBC analyst, who joined Goldman Sachs in 2002, suddenly found himself in demand.
Goldman Sachs Declares Preferred Stock Dividends
Clearing & Settlement
Eurex Clearing: BNP Paribas And Morgan Stanley Join EurexOTC Clear
BNP Paribas and Morgan Stanley, two major global banks, joined EurexOTC Clear for Interest Rate Swaps (IRS), Eurex Clearing’s central counterparty service for OTC derivatives, increasing the total number of clearing members to 32.
Clearstream’s December And Year 2013 Figures
Clearstream Closes 2013 With A Record EUR 12.0 Trillion In Assets Under Custody- 5 Percent More International Transactions And 7 Percent More Domestic Transactions In 2013 Compared To 2012 -Positive Trends Across All Business Areas Throughout 2013
Pension funds call for clearing exemption extension
Cecile Sourbes – Risk.net
Pension funds are pushing the European Commission (EC) to extend the clearing exemption in the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (Emir) until 2018, due to their inability to post non-cash variation margin for swaps.
Clearing: Listing Expansion for GSCI-ER Futures
CME Group: New Product Summary for Clearing Firms, Bookkeeping Software Providers, ISVs
Indexes & Products
Vanguard Ups Global ETP Market Share
Sarah Krouse – MoneyBeat – WSJ
U.S. fund manager Vanguard was the only one of the three largest exchange-traded product providers globally to increase its market share in 2013, highlighting the competitiveness of a sector in which the top three firms account for 70% of assets.
Xetra/Börse Frankfurt: New PIMCO Active ETF Launched On Xetra
First Actively Managed Bond ETF On The Global Market For Covered Bonds For The First Time
Clearstream Enables Direct Investor Access To ETFs Through Vestima
S&P Dow Jones Indices Announces Quarterly Index Reviews
KKR to auction Ipreo with $850m minimum sale tag
Arash Massoudi, Ed Hammond and Henny Sender in New York – FT.com
KKR, the private equity group, is exploring a sale of Ipreo, a capital-markets data and software provider for banks, for at least twice the company’s 2011 acquisition price, according to people familiar with the matter.
Second FinTech Innovations Lab kicks off
Anna Irrera – Financial News
The second edition of Accenture’s accelerator for financial technology start-ups has kicked off in Canary Wharf, as the fintech sector continues to gain momentum in London.
Spread Networks Opens Point of Presence at NYSE Euronext Mahwah
Spread Networks opened a point of presence this month at the NYSE Euronext datacenter in Mahwah, NJ. By adding this key financial data center to its best in class fiber optic network, Spread is now able to offer the lowest-latency fiber optic connection between NYSE Euronext markets and all major Chicago exchanges.
ORATS Adds Quarterly Analysis to TOES, Readies Enhanced Dividend Forecasts
Faye Kilburn – WatersTechnology
Chicago-based options analytics provider Option Research and Technology Services has rolled out new quarterly analysis as part of its TOES (Tested Option Environment Strategies) service, to enable users to back-test US equity option strategies over specific quarterly time periods.
SAC Trader ‘Corrupted’ Doctors, Prosecutor Says
ALEXANDRA STEVENSON – NYTimes.com
Mathew Martoma, a former SAC Capital Advisors hedge fund manager, “corrupted” doctors to get an “illegal edge” that helped him perpetrate the most lucrative insider trading scheme in history, a federal prosecutor said on Friday.
U.S. ‘rushed to judgment’ against SAC’s Martoma, lawyer tells jury
Prosecutors “rushed to judgment” in charging former SAC Capital Advisors portfolio manager Mathew Martoma with insider trading, his lawyer told jurors on Friday.
In Insider Case, Harvard Classmates on Different Sides of the Court
MATTHEW GOLDSTEIN and BEN PROTESS – NYTimes.com
In May 1999, on the stately campus of Harvard Law School, Mathew Martoma was facing expulsion for doctoring his grades in the hopes of securing a coveted judicial clerkship. That same month, Arlo Devlin-Brown was preparing to graduate from the school on his way to one such clerkship.
Italian regulator brings civil suit against BlackRock fund manager
BlackRock Inc said on Friday that Italy’s market regulator has started civil proceedings against one of its fund managers alleging that he used inside information to sell shares in Saipem just before the oil services firm issued a profit warning in 2013.
For Financier, a Final Try to Avoid U.S. Charges
JACK EWING – NYTimes.com
A lawyer for Florian Homm, a German financier wanted by United States authorities, says he will appeal to the Italian Ministry of Justice in a last-ditch attempt to prevent the former hedge fund manager from being extradited to Los Angeles to face charges of securities fraud.
The ‘Wolf’ Is Still Bending the Truth, Prosecutors Say
SUSAN ANTILLA – NYTimes.com
Jordan Belfort, the author of two books about his life as the rapacious “Wolf of Wall Street” and now a prominent motivational speaker, is sending mixed messages, federal prosecutors say.
Former Jefferies trader can’t keep ‘taxpayer’ out of fraud trial
A former Jefferies Group Inc managing director accused of cheating clients and the government on mortgage securities after the 2008 financial crisis failed to persuade a federal judge to keep jurors from being told that “taxpayers” were victims of his alleged fraud.
Investor Alert: BCSC issues warning about Binary Options Trading Platforms
The British Columbia Securities Commission is warning investors about Internet-based binary options trading platforms. The BCSC has recently become aware of RBOptions, an unregistered online trading platform claiming to operate out of Toronto, Ontario.
Environmental & Energy
Rift over new EU energy, climate policy deepens
European Commissioners clashed on Friday over what the European Union’s climate and energy policy goals for 2030 should be, with time for agreement running short ahead of their planned publication this month, EU sources said.
Parliament, Commission set for clash over 2030 clean energy goals
The European Parliament yesterday (9 January) voted for three binding energy and climate targets in 2030, audaciously backing a 40% energy savings improvement, but EurActiv understands that a meeting of nine EU commissioners this morning is set to endorse a far weaker text.
VCS Says Regulation Beats Trading For This Dangerous Greenhouse Gas
Markets are a powerful tool for incentivizing and rewarding greenhouse-gas reductions, but the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) says they no longer add value to the effort to eliminate one of the world’s most powerful heat-trapping compounds.
Wave of China IPO suspensions in setback for reforms
Five Chinese companies said on Monday they were postponing initial public offerings (IPOs), in a blow to Beijing’s reformist drive to give market forces a “decisive” role in the country’s stock exchanges.
Hong Kong IPOs Line Up
Hong Kong is looking like a serious contender to regain the initial-public-offering crown it held from 2009 through 2011.
ANZ’s Smith Can’t Figure Hong Kong Banks
Enda Curran – MoneyBeat – WSJ
Mike Smith, the chief executive of Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., says the valuations being attached to Hong Kong’s homegrown banks defy logic. Or at the very least, they defy calculators.
Asian tycoons shut out private equity firms
Paul J Davies in Hong Kong – FT.com
What do Facebook, Spotify, bitpay, Summly and Siri have in common? They all got early stage private-equity backing from Asia’s richest man, Hong Kong’s Li Ka-shing.
Record dim sum bond issue for London
Christopher Thompson – FT.com
Bank of China has sold a record Rmb2.5bn bond to investors, the biggest offshore renminbi bond to date in London.
Yuan’s Rise Hurts China’s Exporters
China’s reputation as the world’s factory floor is being undercut by the yuan’s upward march against the dollar, which along with rising wages, is pushing manufacturers to look for cheaper production bases in Asia. Exports in December were up just 4.3% compared with December 2012, down from a much stronger 12.7% year-over-year rise in November, according to customs data released Friday.
Fidelity appoints Murai as manager of Asia property fund
Joe McGrath – Financial News
Fidelity has appointed a new manager to its FF Asia Pacific Property Fund following its decision last year to grant the fund’s former manager Polly Kwan additional responsibilities.
Dalian Commodity Exchange “Handheld Options” App Goes On Line
Shanghai Stock Exchange Releases “Management Measures On Open-end Fund Business”
Argentina’s Woes Push Investors Away
Investors are pulling out of Argentina’s currency and bonds as its financial situation deteriorates. After a stellar 2013, the country’s government bonds have fallen sharply over the past week, as a deep drop in the value of the peso and dwindling foreign-exchange reserves are raising questions about the country’s ability to pay future debts.
Regulators to amend financial sector rules to aid uniformity
Financial sector regulators will soon make amendments to sector-specific rules to ensure consistency and issue regulations to protect the personal information of customers. However, the proposal to have a unified regulator will not see the light of day until a new government is formed.
Turkey aims for a market reboot
Anna Irrera – Financial News
Turkey’s plans to boost its local market infrastructure are moving forward. Most recently the Turkish exchange Borsa Istanbul signed a wide-ranging agreement with Nasdaq OMX aimed at overhauling its technology infrastructure. As part of the deal, Nasdaq OMX will take a 5% stake in Borsa Istanbul while giving the Turkish bourse access to its vast suite of trading technologies.
DGCX Trading Volumes Reach New Highs in 2013
Continuing its strong growth momentum from the previous year, trading volumes on the Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX) touched new highs in 2013.
Tehran Stock Exchange Weekly Digest – 8 January 2014
Nigeria Stock Exchange: Stock Market Report For January 10, 2014
Malawi Stock Exchange Weekly Trading Report – 10th January, 2014
Amman Stock Exchange Market Holiday
MCX-SX Gets SEBI Approval To Launch IRF Segment – The New Segment To Go Llive’ In January
The hunt for Mukhtar Ablyazov: Banker, criminal, fugitive, victim?
Elliot Wilson – Euromoney magazine
What is the truth about Mukhtar Ablyazov? Is the former head of Kazakh bank BTA a fraudster on a par with Madoff and Stanford, as prosecutors from Russia and Ukraine to England and France claim? Or is he the persecuted victim of his home country’s political elite? One thing is for sure: the hunt for Ablyazov, and billions of dollars in assets he is alleged to have illegally appropriated, is one of the great sagas of our time.