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Chapter 61

 

Jonathan and I “salted” Russia.  Price of Russian bonds has doubled in Moscow, and it was selling like hotcakes. More than a billion dollars in Russian bonds have been sold before Jonathan’s arrival, but now the amount was three billion. Jonathan had “contributed” much to that, as he had purchased a billion under the New York firm’s name while his presence at the venue inflamed the investors. He had “salted the mine”, the mine called Russia. (EN: In mineral exploration, salting is the process of adding a valuable metal, especially gold or silver, to a sample to change the value of the sample with intent to deceive potential buyers of the mine.) (EN: The author used a term translated as “throwing a bomb”.  However, I transliterated it as “salting the mine” to be more understandable to western, particularly American readers.  ^_^ )

 

<Private jets are nice despite being a rental.>

 

Jonathan was in his private jet and had a satellite telephone on his ear.

 

<It’s time to buy one and go ahead and buy the model and color you want. But don’t go too overboard since you’re not the only one who is going to fly in it.>

 

Then, Jonathan asked the flight attendants to leave him, and he spoke in a low voice.

 

<I think I may have ruined the Mann company. While I did what you wanted, there may be collateral damage, Sun.>

<Don’t worry about it. You had a billion-dollar’s worth of ‘salt’ with you.  And you sprinked it well.>

<It was a difficult task.>
<You will have to hand that task over to others in a month.>

< You did not forget that the European banks hate us, right? Not only that, but everyone knows the sucker bet we made with the great financial institutions on the Hong Kong interest rate.  And how much we took from those institutions.>

<So, do as much as you can. I believe Russians will be popping champagne tomorrow.>

<They will issue more government bonds, right?>

<Yes, at least six billion dollars in Eurobonds and over a billion in government bonds. Isn’t it a justification for you? You can just say you just messed up some calculations.>

<That much is…all right. I wrote down the names of those who wanted to buy all there was today. We will be spending at least another one hundred million dollars in fees with Silverman Sox.>

<We’re fine.>

<One hundred million as mere expenses. I will never get used to this.>

 

That was money thrown away, like the billion,  just to “salt the mine”, as those who started out thinking that Russia would not go down were now more willing than ever to buy bonds. Also, other people were joining them, lest they miss out on an “Opportunity”, so a massive amount of money was flowing through Russia to buy Russian bonds. Jonathan and I had deliberately, and with malice aforethought, started an artificial “boom” in Russian Government bonds.  I then spoke.

 

<We’ve salted the mine, and that’s enough for now.>

<No one else will spend one hundred million in FEES just to salt the mine by a BILLION. Every day is exciting thanks to you.>

 

I changed the subject.

 

<What about the Russian Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office?>

<I thought he was KGB at first glance, and he acted like a spy. However, he likes money and asked to move to a private spot for a discussion when I mentioned it. Things finished there, and I only had to show him my checkbook.>

<And?>

<Two million dollars. However, that official would have immediately known that it was a bribe. What hedge fund would guarantee seed money?>

 

No hedge fund would do that, but we had offered the Russian official seed money, and guaranteed that Jonathan would invest it and give him dividends, his “cut”.

 

<What are you planning to do with connections to the Russian cabinet? The president’s people have completely monopolized the state enterprises.>

<Russia will go down, Jonathan.>

<I know.>

<Everyone will be replaced.>

 

While the former Russian government had tried to bring in capitalism into a socialist system, the current president tried to dismantle the current system before embracing capitalism. As a result, he had many political enemies in Russia, and his ruin was certain if Russia went bankrupt, as it had happened in the past.

 

<You’ve sentenced him, Sun. He won’t last if the bankruptcy happens in his watch.>

 

Jonathan spoke like he was enjoying himself, and he had been in a good mood since he contacted me. It must have been a fantastic experience to personally meet world leaders and not just see pictures on a monitor.

 

<How far has New York progressed?>

<The three funds managed by the Onider Associates are being maintained, as there was no need to touch them.>

<The hundred billion from ANC and Blue Rock?>

<Onider and those we got from Blue Rock have proposed that we should go with three hedge funds like Onider had.>

<Go on.>

<Say they’re A, B, C. The A fund will be a buyout fund, the B fund will be a market-neutral fund, and the C fund will be an event driven fund.> (EN: A buyout fund takes money from investors and uses it to buy other companies, sometimes taking publicly traded companies private.) (EN: A market-neutral fund is a hedge fund that seeks a profit regardless of an upward or downward market environment, typically through the use of paired long and short positions or derivatives. These funds can potentially serve to mitigate market risk as they seek to generate positive returns in all market environments.) (EN: Event-driven investing is a hedge fund investment strategy that seeks to exploit pricing inefficiencies that may occur before or after a corporate event, such as an earnings call, bankruptcy, merger, acquisition, or spinoff.)

<Their composition?>

<30 billion in A, 50 billion in B, and 20 billion in C.>

 

I thought about my answer.

 

<Make another and tie in the remaining funds and the US government pensions. Place the two million seed money from the Russian official there.>

 

I explained that the A, B, and C funds will be directed by our elite managers, while the last fund I mentioned will invest aggressively based on my “Russia” investment proposal.

 

<Who’s going to be in charge? Didn’t you say you will be busy with the offshore funds?>

<He may have arrived at the New York firm now. Contact the company.>

<Who did you send?>

<His name is Brian Kim, and let him manage the fund. While he won’t look like a pro and others may show dissatisfaction, you’re the owner of the firm. Appeal to the executives and the employees, and in two months, the results will be evident.>

<Things will go badly without good results. Sun, the funds will be more than twenty billion. Is he a capable person? I do not know him.>

 

No one would know Cheongsoo Kim, and he himself did not know his potential in this era.

 

<Give him as many elites from Onider as you can, and also the authority.>

<You’re saying that he doesn’t have a background…how old is he?>

<He’s a Korean in his thirties. Remember that you’re the one who wrote the proposal, Jonathan.>

<You’re putting everything on me again. I accept.>

 

***

 

Cheongsoo Kim was in a complicated mood. The founder of Onider Associates had been one of his role models. He had shown his skill at Bank of America and had expanded his firm, increasing the number of employees at Onider from 400 to 1300 in just two years.

That role model had announced he would sell his company and just manage his own portfolio, which meant retirement. Cheongsoo Kim had not thought much about that, as several other role models followed the same path. When the funds grew too large, one needed to shrink the funds, to get to the point where a single person could efficiently manage it.

It was a common method to sell the company and create a personal fund with one’s accumulated profits. It was an honorary retirement, and Cheongsoo Kim smiled as he entered the former head office of Onider, which was now renamed Jonathan Investments.

His smile was rueful as he was embarrassed, because he had thought Jonathan was only a lucky investor. His thinking had changed after reading his book. He had been shocked at receiving a recruiting email, as Jonathan’s name had serious substance.

 

‘If Russia will go bankrupt as Jonathan said, how much richer would he become?!’

 

Cheongsoo Kim thought he was living in a time with a person that will go down in history forever, , and the file attached to the email made him think that. The investment proposal was a masterpiece written by a genius.

 

“I am Brian Kim.”

“You have an appointment with the CEO, and there’s a visitor’s area on the top floor. Will you wait there?”

“Thank you.”

 

Cheongsoo Kim strived to calm himself down while he waited for Jonathan, as he had to remain cool. He did not know how Jonathan knew him and what he saw in him, but this was a job interview. The portfolio was for twenty two billion dollars based on the predicted Russian moratorium announcement in late July. Cheongsoo Kim read the documents and thought of questions to ask during the interview. He heard someone come in, and his name was called. He followed the secretary to the CEO office. Jonathan was waiting for Cheongsoo Kim with a smile.

 

“You waited for a long time. I came here as soon as I could from Russia. I apologize for being late.”

 

Cheongsoo Kim knew about the event in Russia, as it was a big deal.

 

“The news coverage of the event would be available now, online. Did you check?”

 

Jonathan asked, and Cheongsoo Kim realized that he had made a mistake.

 

“You know what I’m talking about, right?”

“It’s the Silverman Sox event in Moscow, and I apologize for not doing so.”

 

Jonathan must have been checking his ability as a manager, and it was a blunder. Jonathan showed him a report on a monitor so Cheongsoo Kim could see it too. The event ended after selling three billion dollars in bonds.

Cheongsoo Kim’s brain whirred, and how much would this money affect the proposal’s estimations?

 

‘This amount would have a trivial effect, and this is…’

 

Cheongsoo Kim looked at Jonathan with a new light.

 

“Did you also buy Russian bonds?”

 

If he did despite predicting that Russia would go bankrupt…

 

“I bought a billion dollars worth. Will I profit or lose?”

 

Cheongsoo Kim felt a shudder in his spine and then all over his body.

 

‘He’s salting the mine!’

 

This man was incredibly bold after he made a decision.

 

“Congratulations, Jonathan. You will succeed as you had done in Asia.”

 

However, Cheongsoo Kim was shocked at Jonathan’s answer.

 

“Huh? Could you say it again?”

“This is your turn now. I want to give you a chance. I want you to manage what I got from the Asian Financial Crisis.”

 

Edited by Userunfriendly

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