Interesting story in Quote magazine this month on the dividend double dipping cowboy Frank Vogel. A macher with a lot of bravoure. Made a fortune for Fortis Global Securities Lending and Arbitrage (GSLA) at the turn of the century and pocketed millions of bonus as well. Was shown the door as the bank felt his kingdom inside the bank was too risky in multiple ways.

To make a long story short, the family man built his own arbitrage firm GSFS and tried to join forces with a market maker in search for credit lines and infrastructure. He started a revenue sharing agreement with Van der Moolen, and eventually agreed to sell half of his new company to VDM for a tidy sum of 43 million. Good negotiator.

Would be an understatement to say he isn’t exactly a “no comment” kind of guy. He surfaces a little bit as a victim of all financial institutions and people hating him for unknown reasons – couldn’t help thinking “Is it because I is black?“. Some nice statements from the profile in Quote:

Frank Vogel as CEO of Van der Moolen

VDM agreed to buy a stake of 49.9% in his firm GSFS – and a part of the deal was that Frank Vogel was to succeed Den Drijver as the new CEO. Can’t really picture him running a listed company,  he hasn’t made any friends in the world of finance. On the other hand, nobody could perform worse than Richard den Drijver. Besides, Frank Vogel’s lawyer was already on the supervisory board (RvC). Deal was off after Hans Kroon and De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) blocked it. After this he could see the bankruptcy coming five months before the fact, and tried to take over some parts like the former Curvalue unit. Again – DNB blocked this option. According to Frank Vogel, that is.

Frank Vogel to save VDM

Also according to Frank Vogel, the fall of VDM was avoidable as the proceeds from his trades arrived a few days before the declaration of bankruptcy in September. The whole Van der Moolen bankruptcy is a kind of legalized robbery, only executed to fill the pockets of the liquidator and the investigators – according to the man with an estimated net worth of 20 million.

Liquidators

Made a few calls to those alleged bunch of thieves, the liquidators. Situation is slightly different. First of all, Frank is messing up the dates. VDM was declared bankrupt on september 9, announcement of tax reclaim arrived a week later on September 16th. That would have saved the firm, but arrived too late.

Second, the company Van der Moolen could really have been saved by Frank Vogel, making a serious bid for the tax claims in the preceding weeks. He would have hit the jackpot too, buying the claims at a nice discount. He did not, guess he wasn’t so sure after all in about being right at the time.

It’s the liquidator’s job to receive and keep the cash from the German tax authorities, and with GSFS as the principal party they are working together for the same goal. Whether both like it or not. With all the money arriving for Frank Vogel, it would have been very kind of him to pay them some compliments – but it’s true they are only in it for the money. Liquidators replied with a smile to my questions, and don’t worry at all about the hardline quotes in Quote magazine ; “we know where we stand with Frank. He is probably terribly sorry for what he said”.

VEB

In the meantime, shareholder association VEB is going after Richard den Drijver for malpractice. See their 40 page long letter to court (pdf). Strange side note ; the VEB letter contains all private information on people supporting their claim with passports and private addresses. Including the famous Hercules, owning more than 5% of VDM shares in the last days of 2009.

Jack
Jack