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How a tiny, secretive research shop exposed one of the world’s biggest commodity traders

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How a tiny, secretive research shop exposed one of the world’s biggest commodity traders

http://qz.com/695098/how-a-tiny-secretive-research-shop-exposed-one-of-the-worlds-biggest-commodity-traders/

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The CEO of Noble Group unexpectedly stepped down today (May 30), the latest bad news from a storied Hong Kong investment giant that is one of the world’s biggest commodity traders.

Yusuf Alireza, a former Goldman Sachs manager who took over the company in mid-2013, resigned unexpectedly “for family reasons,” the company said in a statement today to the Singapore Stock Exchange. A longer statement said instead that he has completed a “transformation process” at the company and “considered that the time was right for him to move on.”

Surprised investors didn’t agree—the company’s stock fell nearly 5% in Singapore trading today.

Commodity traders like Noble have suffered as prices of oil, coal, and other key commodities fell in recent years, and the industry has gone through a wrenching round of consolidation. Still, some big banks in the business have managed to wrestle decent profits from the volatility, and particularly as commodity prices bounced back in recent months.

That’s when Iceberg Research, a little-known, secretive firm that says it specializes in “revealing financial manipulation and accounting frauds,” started questioning the company’s accounts in a series of reports issued on its WordPress-run website. Noble Group is “a repeat of Enron,” the fraudulent energy trader, Iceberg alleged in its first report in February 2015, and is substantially overvaluing its assets. The company is also under-reporting its debt, it said in its third report, and over-valuing its contracts.

ect - read the rest on the link provided.

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