Hedge fund boss Steve Cohen quits Twitter after family received threats amid GameStop saga

The hedge fund boss helped bail out one of the Wall Street firms taking the biggest losses

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Saturday 30 January 2021 21:58
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Robinhood boss defends GameStop trading restrictions
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Billionaire and New York Mets owner Steve Cohen, who helped bail out one of the Wall Street firms taking huge losses in the GameStop stock frenzy, said on Saturday he’s taking a break from Twitter due to “personal threats” against his family. 

“I’ve really enjoyed the back and forth with Mets fans on Twitter which was unfortunately overtaken this week by misinformation unrelated to the Mets that led to our family getting personal threats,” he said in a statement. “So I’m going to take a break for now.”

As small-time traders bet against Wall Street firms’ predictions and sent GameStop and other underdog stocks surging, Mr Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management helped bail out Melvin Capital Management, one of the firms hit hardest, with $750 million. Melvin is run by Gabe Plotkin, Mr Cohen’s former protege, and manages more than $1 bn of Point72’s assets. 

Social media users, including Dave Portnoy, founder of the sports media company Barstool Sports, accused Mr Cohen and other Wall Street funds of colluding to protect their interests with stock-trading apps like Robinhood, which limited trading on GameStop and other shares for a period amid big swings in price.

“PRISON TIME,” Mr Portnoy said. "Dems and Republicans haven’t agreed on 1 issue till this.   That’s how blatant, illegal, unfathomable today’s events are.   It also shows how untouchable @RobinhoodApp @StevenACohen2C Citadel Point72 all think they are.   Fines aren’t enough.   Prison or bust

Mr Cohen strongly denied this on his now-deleted Twitter.

“What are you talking about?” he responded to Mr Portnoy. “I unequivocally deny that accusation. I had zero to do with what happened  today.”

Citadel Securities, which also helped bail out Melvin , denied the accusation as well.

“Citadel Securities has not instructed or otherwise caused any brokerage firm to stop, suspend, or limit trading or otherwise refuse to do business,” the company told the New York Post.

Robinhood, the trading app at the heart of the controversy, began easing trading restrictions on Friday, and previously said the restrictions were owed to various regulatory requirements.

The Securities and Exchange Commission warned on Friday it would crack down on “abusive or manipulative trading activity.”

“The Commission will closely review actions taken by regulated entities that may disadvantage investors or otherwise unduly inhibit their ability to trade certain securities,” it said in a statement. “In addition, we will act to protect retail investors when the facts demonstrate abusive or manipulative trading activity that is prohibited by the federal securities laws.”

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