Cryptocurrency hedge fund founder admits to massive fraud

first_imgA 24-year-old founder of two New York-based cryptocurrency hedge funds with more than $100 million in investments pleaded guilty Thursday to securities fraud.Stefan He Qin was charged with duping investors by claiming he used a trading algorithm to take advantage of price differences for a number of cryptocurrencies, federal prosecutors said in a statement. Qin stole investor money from his Virgil Sigma Fund, and attempted to dip into his VQR Multistrategy Fund to pay back investors in the first fund, prosecutors said. He admitted trying to steal from yet another fund he controlled to cover VQR fund redemption demands, according to the statement.“The whole house of cards has been revealed, and Qin now awaits sentencing for his brazen thievery,” Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. Attorney for Manhattan, said in the statement.Qin’s fraud relied on misrepresentations about his investment strategy to lure millions of investor dollars into the fraudulent cryptocurrency firms, prosecutors said. Qin, an Australian national, embezzled almost all the capital from the Virgil Sigma fund to pay for, among other personal expenses, a penthouse apartment. He faces up to 20 years in prison.“Mr. Qin has accepted full responsibility for his actions and is committed to doing what he can to make amends,” his lawyers, Sean Hecker and Shawn Crowley, said in a statement.The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a parallel civil case against Qin in December.[More: Fintechs push Bitcoin trading onward and upward: Fidelity]last_img read more

Empire State Realty Trust lost $20M in Q2

first_imgTony Malkin (Getty)After four months without tourists paying a small fortune to peek over the edge of the Empire State Building, it should be no surprise that its owner is out $20 million.Empire State Realty Trust reported a net loss of $19.6 million during the second quarter of 2020, down from $18.9 million in net income a year earlier. The real estate investment trust also announced a series of cost-cutting measures, including executive salary cuts and a 12 percent cut in general and administrative expenses to improve its balance sheet.“It takes a moment to grasp the magnitude of the dynamic situation we all have confronted and continue to confront since we last reported the results,” Tony Malkin, the company’s CEO and president, said during an earnings call Thursday. ESRT’s 10.1 million-square-foot portfolio spans New York City, Westchester County and Connecticut.The landlord’s total revenue for the second quarter was $141 million, down 20 percent from $176 million a year ago. During the first quarter, the company brought in $8.3 million in net income and $170 million in revenue.Read moreA third of Empire State Realty Trust tenants sought rent relief: Q1 reportTony Malkin on looting, unions and Empire State Building reopeningTony Malkin is shaking things up at Empire State Realty Trust The dismal figures follow a big management shakeup in June, when Malkin took over John Kessler’s post as president. Those changes also included the appointment of Chief Financial Officer Christina Chiu and Chief Investment Officer Aaron Ratner. Chiu replaced David Karp, who announced his resignation in May.“We have made hard choices that have resulted in a great deal of change in our organization, and reduction in force costs, and positioned us on our front feet to preserve and create value for our shareholders,” Malkin said.The company is set to impose a base salary cut for Malkin and Executive Vice President Thomas Durels by 33 percent and 25 percent, respectively, effective Aug. 1 through the rest of the year. Malkin took base salary reduction to $1 for the second quarter of 2020.It’s not all bad news for the property owner, though. Executives on the call emphasized that office and retail rent collections and admissions from the Empire State Building’s observation deck have started to improve as the New York region gradually reopened.The firm collected 84 percent of rent in the second quarter, representing 86 percent of office tenants and 75 percent of retail tenants, according to the company. As of July 24, monthly collection reached 90 percent, representing 93 percent of office tenants and 75 percent of retailers. A third of ESRT’s tenants sought rent relief during the first quarter.The Empire State Building’s observatory, which remained shut for the entire second quarter, reopened July 20 at limited capacity, after conducting several days of staff training to master safety and health protocols.Malkin noted that he has been encouraged by positive reviews on social media, which praised the facility’s safety protocol first and then the spectacular view.“The week two was stronger than the week one. Our first weekend was stronger than our week prior,” he said. “So we look forward to this weekend coming.”Contact Akiko Matsuda at [email protected] This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Nowlast_img read more