The US hedge fund that forced Argentina to default on its debts has paid one of its London-based bosses more than £38m – a sum 1,437 times greater than the average UK salary of £26,500.
Elliott Advisors, the British arm of New York hedge fund Elliott Management, paid £38,119,707 last year to a senior executive in its UK office, according to accounts filed at Companies House.
The firm, set up by US billionaire Paul Elliott Singer in 1977, did not identify which of its London directors collected the multimillion-pound pay cheque, though all the possible candidates are American. The director’s pay was up 1,311% on the £2.7m paid out the previous year.
Elliott’s UK directors are Keith Horn, 56, chief operating officer, Jonathan Pollock, 51, chief trading officer, and Singer’s son Gordon, 40. Phil Hall, the former News of the World editor-turned-PR man who represents Elliott, refused to state which director collected the cash.
Pollock reportedly lives in one of the largest single floor apartments in Manhatten. He merged three apartments on the ninth floor of the famous Upper West Apthorp building to create a 8,500 sq ft apartment.
The £38m pay cheque works out at £733,000 a week – or more than twice as much has Wayne Rooney collects from Manchester United. It is thought to be the highest pay earned in Britain this year, ahead of £34m paid to rival fund manager Stephen Butt co-founder of Silchester International last year.
Elliott has attracted controversy for its very aggressive pursuit of debts owed by Argentina and other struggling economies. At one point, Elliott won a court order to have a 100 metre Argentine naval vessel seized in Ghana as part of its attempt to collect on bonds on which Buenos Aires defaulted in 2001.
Unlike more than 90% of the other Argentina bondholders, Elliott refused to restructure the debt it held, and argued that the country could not legally favour bondholders who had restructured their debt over his group. Singer won the court battle, resulting in the south American country defaulting this summer, leaving holders of the restructured debt without hundreds of millions in interest payments.
Argentina’s former foreign minister Héctor Timerman has branded Singer “the inventor of vulture funds”.
The fund has also fought long legal battles against Peru and Congo-Brazzaville to collect on old debts at vastly increased values.
Elliott’s UK division paid only £1.3m in corporate tax last year, less than the average £1.35m paid to its 53 employees. The firm, which is based on King Street, next to St James’s Square, paid out £72m in salaries, up from £30m last year, as its turnover doubled to £103m.
Among the staff, according to his LinkedIn profile, is Benjamin Tansey, a former president of the Oxford Union who was twice caught wrestling naked on his college’s croquet lawn.
Elliott has also attracted controversy for its activist investor campaigns against a string of British companies, including National Express, which it unsuccessfully tried to break up, and Morrisons, which it told to spin off its property holdings. Last month Elliott made £58.5m selling shares in video games retailer Game Digital. It was also involved in the demise of electrical retailer Comet.
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