Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discussing the three-year anniversary of Elon Musk’s ‘funding secured’ tweet; 100 biggest companies in the world; Freedom Holding Corp (NASDAQ:FRHC): the red flag factory in belize.
In August, Mohnish Pabrai took part in Brown University's Value Investing Speaker Series, answering a series of questions from students. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more One of the topics he covered was the issue of finding cheap equities, a process the value investor has plenty of experience with. Cheap Stocks In the Read More
Elon Musk's 'Funding Secured' Tweet
1) Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk posted his infamous "funding secured" tweet three years ago this week:
Of course, he didn't have funding secured, so he got in a lot of hot water with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission – but no matter: TSLA shares are up nearly 10 times since then.
While I would have given 100-to-1 odds against this outcome, at least I had the good sense to recognize that this open-ended situation was a bad short (as I said then – and continue to say)...
100 Biggest Companies In The World
2) A hat tip to VisualCapitalist for this interesting graphic of the world's 100 biggest companies in 2021 by market cap, showing country and industry:
Freedom Holding: The Red Flag Factory In Belize
3) In my January 5 e-mail, I wrote:
My friend Roddy Boyd at the Foundation for Financial Journalism recently exposed one of the most obvious promotions I've seen in quite some time – which has a $3 billion market cap! Freedom Holding: After 'Borat,' the Silliest Kazakh Import of the Century.
Since then, it's even clearer that the company is a promotion at best and fraud at worst, yet the stock is up 30%. Here's Roddy with an update: Freedom Holding: The Red Flag Factory in Belize. Excerpt:
Freedom Holding has some explaining to do.
The financial services firm has quite improbably become one of the fastest growing companies on the planet. It lists its shares on the Nasdaq, is incorporated in Las Vegas, but for all intents and purposes runs its operations mostly in Kazakhstan.
As a December investigation by the Foundation for Financial Journalism showed, Freedom Holding's ballooning profits have resulted from baffling and opaque business practices that its management is not keen to discuss.
Among the arrangements is Freedom Holding's close connection to FFIN Brokerage Services, a Belize-based securities trading firm owned by Timur Turlov. He also is Freedom Holding's billionaire founder and majority shareholder.
Even the most seasoned investor has probably not witnessed related-party transactions of the scope of FFIN's dealings with Freedom Holding.
Last year more than 56% of Freedom Holding's revenue came from FFIN commission payments, and in 2019 they represented over 65%. What Freedom Holding does to earn the commissions is not readily apparent, however. Yet the two companies are so intertwined – Freedom Holding's senior managers use FFIN email accounts – it's not clear the two companies are separate in any real sense.
Let me get this straight... This is a business incorporated in Las Vegas, headquartered in Kazakhstan, which earns the majority of its revenue in commissions from a Belize-based securities trading firm, and earns most of its profits from a unit in Cyprus...
How is this even allowed to trade on a U.S. exchange?
P.S. I welcome your feedback at [email protected].