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Former senior credit analyst at Noble revealed as the man behind Iceberg Research

The driving force behind the outfit that brought down Hong Kong commodities giant Noble Group has been revealed finally.

Arnaud Vagner, formerly a senior credit analyst at Noble, has given an interview with Bloomberg in which he has admitted he is behind Iceberg Research, the firm that has targeted Noble and its senior management for its accounting practices over the past three years.

Since Iceberg Research started filing reports on Noble, comparing the Singapore-listed company to Enron, in 2015, Noble’s net worth has plummeted by around $10bn to stand at just $115m. In 10 days’ shareholders will vote on Noble’s restructuring plan, something Vagner has attacked in recent days.

“The ‘new Noble’ as it is advertised in the restructuring proposed by Noble is an (sic) scam, exactly as the ‘old Noble’ was a scam. It is another trick to foul investors. It will be the same company, with the same failed management,” Iceberg Research maintained in a report out earlier this week.

Vagner is seeking to get current and past securities holders to sue the Hong Kong-based commodities trader.

“Bad companies have to die,” the former Noble employee told Bloomberg yesterday.

Noble is suing Vagner and a Seychelles-registered company in Hong Kong, accusing both of conspiring to damage the company by anonymously spreading false and misleading information. Vagner denies the allegations in the suit, which is ongoing.

Vagner declined to reveal whether he was the sole person behind Iceberg when interviewed by Bloomberg.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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