John Paulson’s Mali headache

Beaten up gold investor, John Paulson, is a significant Randgold investor who is getting pulled down by trouble in Mali.

Randgold Resources (LON:RRS, NASDAQ:GOLD) shares fell close to 13% on Thursday after a military coup in Mali, where the company has three gold mines that account for most of its bullion production.

In 2011 Paulson bought up over two million shares in the African gold miner. The Financial Times estimates that the Paulson has lost GBP8 million to date. George Soros bought some Randgold as well in 2011, but just dipped his toe in and bought 16,100 shares.

Paulson runs a self-named New York-based hedge fund. The contrarian investor shot to fame by short-selling subprime mortgages leading up to the economic meltdown in 2008. The “trade of the decade” made Paulson $3.5 billion wealthier.

In subsequent periods, Paulson’s track record has not been so good. He lost $720 million after Sino Forest, a significant holding in his hedge fund, was accused of inflating its assets and earnings.

Paulson is a big believer in gold. He created the Paulson Gold Fund and has put much of his personal fortune into the yellow metal.

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