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Paul Touradji Down 9 Percent in First Quarter

Paul Touradji’s troubles continue. The commodities specialist lost 9 percent in the first quarter when most commodities were up.

Paul Touradji’s troubles continue. The commodities specialist lost 9 percent in the first quarter when most commodities were up. This suggests Touradji was bearish and betting that prices would fall this year.

The big loss came in a quarter when most hedge fund managers made money, with many of them racking up double-digit returns. “The first quarter saw a continuation of strong commodity prices across all sectors,” said commodities specialist Andy Hecht in a press release wrapping up the quarter’s activities.

On his blog, Hecht points out that gold, up 1 percent in the first quarter, recently closed at a record $1,462.30 an ounce while silver, which recently hit a 31- year high, surged 22 percent in the quarter after rising 82 percent in 2010.

In the energy markets, oil prices rose 16 percent, gasoline 26 percent and heating oil 22 percent. In other commodities, grains were mixed while cotton climbed 38 percent, according to Hecht.

A Touradji spokesman did not comment.

These have not exactly been good months for Touradji. Late last year, Gil Caffray resigned as chief executive officer to become chief investment officer and a member of the management committee at Tiger Management. He remains a special advisor to Touradji. Caffray is said to have played a very valuable role at Touradji, freeing up the hedge fund manager, who had been involved in both the firm’s investments and operations.

In 2010 Touradji, who managed $2.6 at year-end, finished up just 2 percent after climbing just 4.5 percent in 2009.

Touradji is also embroiled in a legal dispute with former employees Gentry Beach and Robert Vollero over bonuses they claim Touradji owes them.

Touradji graduated from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia in 1993. Prior to his Tiger stint, he specialized in quantitative arbitrage, mostly at O’Connor Partners. After working for Julian Robertson’s Tiger Management from 1996 through 2000, he co-founded Catequil Asset Management LP, but it was shut down in 2004 after three years when he and partner Robert Ellis got into a feud. He then created Touradji Capital Management LP in 2005.