The Morning Brief: Steve Weller Exits Citadel, Report Says; Google Chairman Eric Schmidt to Unload Shares

Steve Weller, co-head of Citadel’s global equities group, has left the firm. Bloomberg News reports that Steve Weller left after spending more than 10 years with the Chicago hedge fund firm founded by Kenneth Griffin. Weller will be replaced by Weller’s former sidekick, Brandon Haley. Last year, Citadel’s main multi-strategy funds — Kensington and Wellington — 25.5 percent, their second straight 20 percent-plus year, while the global equities fund rose 17.80 percen

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said in a regulatory filing February 8 he plans to sell up to 3.2 million shares of the search firm, one of the most popular stock holdings among hedge funds. This works out to 42 percent of his personal stake and about 1 percent of the company’s total outstanding shares. Alas, the stock barely budged on the news, slipping less than 1 percent, to $782.42 on Monday.

Another person connected to the government’s insider trading probe was sentenced for his role in the scandal. In this case, the individual avoided prison. Ali Far, a former employee of Raj Rajaratnam’s Galleon Group and founder of Spherix Capital Partners, was sentenced to one year of probation. He had pled guilty in October 2009 to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of securities fraud under a cooperation agreement with the government. According to the government, between 2003 and March 2009, Far sought inside Information from several individuals and traded on the inside Information and shared certain inside Information with others in the hedge fund industry in exchange for trading ideas and other Inside Information. Altogether, he and another individual made more than $5.2 million for their hedge fund by placing trades in Spherix accounts based on inside information.

An Olympic gold medalist has joined the new hedge fund firm founded by Pierre Andurand. Clement Lefert, a gold medal winner in swimming at the London 2012 Olympics, has been hired as an analyst at the oil and commodities hedge fund firm, Andurand Capital Management, which began trading Feb. 1. Lefert was a member of a French freestyle relay team. Andurand was a member of the French junior national swimming team.

Jeremy Stone, a former portfolio manager at hedge fund Marble Bar Asset Management, lost in his bid to recover $31.3 million that he lost in a Ponzi scheme. He had sued Natwest, a unit of Royal Bank of Scotland Group, and an employee, Paul Aplin, claiming they were negligent for not spotting suspicious activity. NatWest operated accounts used in the fraud.