Falcon Edge Capital is pushing back against an NBC report Friday that alleged the hedge fund’s founder, Richard Gerson, is under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Mueller is interested in Gerson’s “proximity to some key meetings between Trump associates and foreign officials” in January 2017, according to the NBC report, which cited five anonymous sources familiar with the matter. A spokesperson for Gerson called the report “completely wrong” via email, adding that he is not under investigation or scrutiny by any entity.
Gerson was vacationing in the Seychelles around the time of a meeting between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and Russian and Emirati officials, including Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, according to the NBC report. According to his spokesperson, Gerson was in the Seychelles prior to the meeting.
“He knew nothing about the meeting, had left before the meeting was reported to have taken place, and has never met or communicated with Erik Prince,” Gerson's spokesperson said in the emailed statement.
NBC also reported that Gerson met separately with Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan during his trip to the Seychelles in January 2017. Gerson's spokesperson declined to comment on whether that meeting took place.
In December 2016, Gerson was at another meeting, hosted at the Four Seasons hotel in New York, with several officials including President-elect Donald Trump's incoming national security Michael Flynn and chief political adviser Steve Bannon, the NBC report said. Gerson's spokesman told NBC that the Falcon Edge founder's involvement in this meeting was limited to escorting former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair there.
In a statement to Institutional Investor, the spokesperson elaborated on this point.
“For years, Mr. Gerson has spent time with former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, dating back to his time as the head of the Middle East Quartet focused on the Israeli/Palestinian issue and related humanitarian aspects, an issue Mr. Gerson cares deeply about,” the spokesperson said. “Mr. Gerson attended the meeting in New York along with Mr. Blair to discuss this issue.”
Gerson is known in the hedge fund community as a Tiger Grandcub, or an investment manager with ties to Julian Robertson Jr.’s legendary hedge fund, Tiger Management Corp. Before starting Falcon Edge, Gerson was a founding member of Blue Ridge Capital, alongside John Griffin, a so-called Tiger Cub because he had earlier worked at Tiger Management.
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Gerson, who founded Falcon Edge in 2012, was named one of Institutional Investor’s Hedge Fund Rising Stars that same year. At the time, one hedge fund manager described Gerson as “the highest-quality guy as an investor, a business leader and a person.”
His fund, Falcon Edge, isn’t exactly apolitical. Open Secrets, a political funding disclosure website, shows that this year the fund donated $2,700 to the campaign of Florida’s Democratic Representative Al Lawson, and contributed $33,900 to the campaign committee for New Jersey’s Democratic Senator Cory Booker’s.