Munger "Recuses Himself" As Frontrunning Focus Shifts To His BYD Purchase

Tyler Durden's picture

A few days ago, we disclosed that based on David Sokol's testimony to CNBC, Buffett's right hand man, Charlie Munger, may be just as guilty of a comparable attempt at frontrunning a Berkshire purchase through his previously undisclosed holdings of a 3% stake in BYD. And despite the Octogenarian's wishes that this story remain dead and buried, Bloomberg has decided to once again bring it up to popular attention. "Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Vice Chairman Charles Munger said his family was invested in BYD Co. “for years” before his company took a stake in the Chinese automaker and that he disclosed the financial interest to his business partner Warren Buffett. “I certainly suggested that Berkshire look at investing in
something that the Mungers were already invested in, but we’d
been in it for years,” he said today in a telephone interview." Of course, since there is no way to check,the general public will be happy to just take Munger's word. After all, he is just as old and cuddly as that other guy, who following the recent spate of negative publicity, and especially Mike Steinhardt's scathing review today, will very soon need his own reality show to preserve his "reputation." Either way, here is the validation fro Munger why the SEC should not be currently deposing him: "I had Dave look at it, because I knew I couldn’t talk
Warren into buying into the damn thing by myself. It’s a new technology-type investment.
But David went over
there, and he made the deal for Berkshire. I recused myself. But there’s no
question about it, that I caused Dave’s original interest." Of course, we would love to take Munger's word for it: after all he represents just the same level of "integrity" as Buffett. But in the meantime, we would love to know at  what price Munger made his purchase, and, well, when, because at last check in the "years" preceding 2008, the stock was trading pretty much in line with any price achieved in 2008, not to mention the surge once the Buffett investment was announced. And we are convinced that while his self-proclaimed recusal will placate everyone that Munger may have committed a crime, perhaps the SEC should ask a question or two. If nothing else, than at least to clear the Vice-Chairman's now thoroughly besmirched reputation.

From Bloomberg:

The Munger investment in BYD is different from Sokol’s in Lubrizol because of the longer amount of time that elapsed before Berkshire announced its intention to acquire shares, said James Cox, a professor of corporate and securities law at Duke University Law School in Durham, North Carolina.

“What really matters is the close time sequence that we all now know that Sokol made the investment,” he said.

We would respectfully, and completely, disagree. And while we will assume initially that Munger did not lie about how long he held BYD for (although we would not be all that shocked if our well-meaning naivete is proven wrong) a far greater issue is the cost basis which is the benchmark against which capital gains are calculated. But we certainly wouldn't expect a corporate and securities law professor at Duke to know this. And what someone like Munger no doubt realizes is that once it becomes public that Berkshire is looking at a stock, regardless of whether Sokol, Munger, Buffett or the janitor is signing the actual wire transfer, the price would surge, making the cost basis that much more attractive... regardless if the holding period was 1 milliseconds or 10 years.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is probing whether Sokol, 54, bought shares in Lubrizol on inside information that Berkshire was considering buying the company, according to a person who declined to be identified because the investigation is secret. The SEC is seeking records from Sokol’s brokerage and examining trading data from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the person said last week. Buffett said March 30 that he doesn’t think Sokol’s purchases were unlawful.

Munger’s account of the BYD investments doesn’t raise “any taint or question mark” for Berkshire, said John Coffee, a securities law professor at Columbia University.

“There’s always going to be some possibility that a director will have some interest in a company that your firm is looking at for a transaction and you disclose that and you recuse yourself,” Coffee said.

That's great. But how about we get the SEC's opinion on the matter. After all, it is not like US capital markets are suffering from an overabundance of investor faith these days.

It would truly be a public service to clear up any possible confusion vis-a-vis just how criminal, if at all, the Munger purchase may have been. And, alas, for that we would fall back to the opinion of one Mary Schapiro, as much as we enjoy John Coffee's non-porn surfing opinion. And lastly, the biggest issue here is what Buffett knew, and what he disclosed publicly: considering the general public had to learn of Munger's massive purchase, and potential conflict of interest, only by parsing the transcript of a former member of the tainted and conflicted Berkshire family, one wonders: just who is hiding what here?

h/t Lizzie363

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TruthInSunshine's picture

This is the cherry on top of the BuffettFraud Sundae.

If there isn't a vigorous investigation of Buffett & Munger now, there should be pitchforks.

BYD's survival depends on slashing prices of in order to try and maintain even a worse position in China's market.

All of this is happening after Buffett's been praising BYD and generating investor ooglin for years now.

Scumbags - Buffett & Munger both.

Buffett-Backed BYD's Profit Plunges as Sales Slump - Falling Sales, Prices

The automaker’s full-year earnings fell 33.5 percent to 2.52 billion yuan. Sales in 2010 increased 18 percent to 46.7 billion yuan from a year earlier.

BYD, headed by chairman Wang Chuanfu, missed its 2010 delivery target by 13 percent, selling 519,806 cars. It cut the target by 25 percent in August from an earlier estimate of 800,000 units. To revive sales growth, BYD slashed prices of five car models by as much as 15,000 yuan last month.

GM, Honda and Nissan are also adding new, lower-priced brands in the world’s largest auto market, while the government in January ended tax incentives that helped boost sales over the last two years.

Xia Zhibing, BYD’s head of sales, wrote on his blog last month that the company, 10 percent owned by Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc., is “preparing for a price war.”



Buffett's Chinese automaker stumbles - 24/7 Wall St. - Chinese car maker BYD Co. (OTC: BYDDF) posted strong sales in 2008 and 2009 and predicted that sales in 2010 would nearly double, to about 800,000 units. In August, the company, in which a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A; BRK-B) owns 10%, reduced its projections to 600,000 units after selling just 286,000 cars in the first half of 2010.

The other shoe has now dropped, as BYD reported full-year sales of just 519,806 units. Sales over the last six months weren’t even able to keep up the pace set in the first six months of the year.




I think I need to buy a gun's picture

Buffett Munger and the rest of them can go F-themselves with becky quick interviewing them

covert's picture

coincidences never "just happen" they are always engineered.


Twindrives's picture

Charlie Munger can shit and fall back in it.

Stoploss's picture

Suck it up Charlie.. That's what you told us to do. Who'd a thunk it would be Charlie and Warren standing there when the tide went out. What a f'd up mental picture that is.

chet's picture

Suck it up, Munger!

Rainman's picture

The Bunger brothers are market movers. Neglecting to put in some sideline frontruns would be sinful,abhorrent and un-Amerikan.

FunkyMonkeyBoy's picture

Buffet = not smart, not clever, just an insider... regularly dragged out by the PTB to deliver the party agenda speeches. Just another criminal insider who has facilitated the wealth transfer from the many to the few.

Id fight Gandhi's picture

Illusion and propaganda of the American dream. If you save money and invest and buy and hold you can be like him!

Fuck all those lies

cowdiddly's picture

In Buffys own words "Behind every fortune their is a crime"

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

It does not matter what Munger did.  He & Berkshire & Buffett are in Owebama's club, so will never get charged with anything.

nah's picture

predatory investing is hardly a crime... but not paying the bills for predatory overleveraged fradulent globalist centralized money power P.I.M.P's


well the cops will make sure someone steals your shit

Cleanclog's picture

What if a partial Madoff has been pulled and all those profits weren't plugged back in and the money isn't there if investors in Berkshire Hathaway start to sell.  Oooooooooh.

kito's picture

where do i get the screensaver for cleanclog's avatar?

American idle's picture

Worst case for Munger.

Um...there is none.

williambanzai7's picture

This really is not just about whether Rule 10b5 has been violated. It is about good corporate governance. Not what Warren thinks.

Sequitur's picture


Charles Munger, the billionaire vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., defended the U.S. financial-company rescues of 2008 and told students that people in economic distress should "suck it in and cope."

"You should thank God" for bank bailouts, Munger said in a discussion at the University of Michigan on Sept. 14, according to a video posted on the Internet. "Now, if you talk about bailouts for everybody else, there comes a place where if you just start bailing out all the individuals instead of telling them to adapt, the culture dies."

Bank rescues allowed the U.S. to avoid what could have been an "awful" downturn and will help the country as it deals with the housing slump, Munger, 86, said. He used the example of post-World War I Germany to explain how the bailouts under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were "absolutely required to save your civilization."

"Hit the economy with enough misery and enough disruption, destroy the currency, and God knows what happens," Munger said. "So I think when you have troubles like that you shouldn’t be bitching about a little bailout. You should have been thinking it should have been bigger."


- Charles Munger, BYD Frontrunner, Douchebag-In-Chief, Berkshire Hathaway





Hephasteus's picture

Awe. That warms my heart. Classic pissed off keiser.

Careless Whisper's picture

Is that true what he said about Wells Fargo Wachovia laundering billions in drug money and no one went to jail?

Hephasteus's picture

Of course it's true. You think some small thinking small time people run this big giant fucking drug business that's able to destroy entire entire cities. This has got community organzing, army depoting, banker written all over it.

Understanding why he's doing his red faced screeching a lot more lately?

Veekay23's picture

Suck it up and cope Charlie boy.

Coldfire's picture

The Crocktagenarian.

Isotope's picture

Charlie don't surf.

duncecap rack's picture

What is there on Buffet? Everyone here is convinced he is dirty as hell but I have never seen specific allegations. I think he turfed Sokol for front running and Munger is a knob,clearly, but were there specific knocks against Buffet that I missed? I haved heard here that he is a friend of Obama's and that he might have a crush on a pretty cnbc host but that's it. I really would like to know what he is thought to have done that is sleazy because I don't want to be a Pollyanna. To be honest it feels like people here are being intelctually lazy and saying if he is in the game and winning he must be dirty. I personally think it is kind of cool that he skinned the squid so bad in the last couple of years. Anyhow I'm rambling but I would like some replies of actual wrongdoing on Buffet's part.

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

duncecap..a troll is a troll of course of course..

hell awaits the idiots who cannot connect a few dots.

4horse's picture

a few centuries of repetition have honed no bareboned old cliche better for [un]said bankers than__ the power behind the throne . . .

always fronts somebody else


as in, false front, what rockwell of a croc could paint their very own American gothic better than this quaker-oated omaha ha and his likewise avuncular mungers to a finer art of financial Effigy for all the prairie rubes to stand in front of and admire

another masterpos

attended by all the oooo's, and aaah's, when, taken off the toilet-- whether ralphkramdened, flintstoned, homered or king-of-queening --it has long since been routine for such derisive bankers to front effrontery itself, ff, while time and again and all the while havin their plentiful and bellyfull of laughs behind the obscene

again. and again : front-and-center

ex cathedra. and with the duncecap on. a picture-perfecting of redundancy

likewise__ the hand that rocks the fable . . .

a sap's fable. twice-told and never too tall to tell in soon being as ubiquitous as it is alltalk, thoroughly disseminated

duncecap rack's picture

Maybe it is all false. Some grotesque blue velvet underworld beneath the Rockwell picture. Does anyone have any proof? If so I would like to hear it. I don't like to be a sucker but the dream that the capitalistic structure could be played with joy by someone who wanted to efficiently allocate capital and use the proceeds nobly is strong in me. I understand the cesspool that is American business but before I leave behind my illusion that it can be navigated with honour I would like proof.

Hephasteus's picture

This is like samsung. They rootkit laptops with key loggers then they get caught and the CEO HIMSELF goes to a "random" store and picks out a "random" laptop for investigation and hand delivers the evidence "himself". And the main stream media applauds his cooparitveness. And they wonder why people want to hand in goat pee for drug tests because you have to take crazy pills every day to live on this planet.

I don't want to save this fucking civilization. I want it dead. Rotting stinking bloated bursting from the maggots making new generations of flies from it.

cabernet's picture

Munger says we should suck it up. Bailouts are a necessity and the rich just have to make money any way they can.


ThisIsBob's picture

I'm unclear on all of this.  Is the rule that if you work for a company that buys stock, you are not supposed to suggest to the company any stock that you own?

Careless Whisper's picture

you see bob, berkshire hathaway changed their name to berkshire haddaway and now they just play music.


Humpty Pundit's picture

All of this made me think of something. Buffet is transferring a lot of his Berkshire stock to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation each year. Bill put a lot of his wealth in it earlier and they have been out raising money for it and other charities from all the ultra rich folks. I don't know how much the assests under management in the fund are now but what is to stop them and their friends from buying massive quantities of out of the money call options on a large but not too large cap company before the Gates foundation starts buying up a major stake? Warren is always whining about how hard it is to invest too much capital so there must be almost risk free gains to be had, isn't there?

Careless Whisper's picture

the bill and melinda gates foundation isn't a real charity, in the way you would think of a charity. it is a front organization for the furtherance of eugenics.

baby_BLYTHE's picture

I got my Elephant gun out and have an itchy trigger finger

mberry8870's picture

You guys should stick to financial markets and not enter the comedy field. "perhaps the SEC should ask a question or two" Yeah right.

mberry8870's picture

You guys should stick to financial markets and not enter the comedy field. "perhaps the SEC should ask a question or two" Yeah right.

mberry8870's picture

You guys should stick to financial markets and not enter the comedy field. "perhaps the SEC should ask a question or two" Yeah right.

mberry8870's picture

You guys should stick to financial markets and not enter the comedy field. "perhaps the SEC should ask a question or two" Yeah right.

Yen Cross's picture

I'm going to frontrun a small x2  (short) test H-1 trendline ans 20 50sma on eur/jpy as the Asian markets close.

ATG's picture

Used to be in America we were innocent until proven guilty in an impartial court of law

Of course we used to have blind justice, a Constitution, an SEC, real trials and not this 97% conviction plea-bargaining

So why do we keep electing or investing in crooked corporate government anyway?

Still say the Sokol (falcon) resignation more about BYD -65% than LZ

TexDenim's picture

Charlie, I have seen dead people who look healthier than you do. Time to take a nap, my friend, the big sleep for you. Bye, bye.