COOPERMAN: 'We're going to win but basically they've ruined my business'

Leon Cooperman, the hedge fund manager who was charged Wednesday with insider trading, said the government has become hostile and that he might consider closing his firm’s doors.

“We’re going to win [the case] but basically they have ruined my business because people have a tendency to fire, aim, ready,” he said at the RSM hedge fund conference held in New York Thursday afternoon.

Here’s what else he said about the SEC charges:

  • “It’s frivolous but we live in a very hostile environment … If you’re 30 years old and this happens, you’re out of business. If you’re 73 and don’t give a shit what it costs you and your reputation is important, basically you’ll defend yourself to the end.”
  • “We’re going to win but basically they have ruined my business because people have a tendency to fire, aim, ready, but I can live with it. We’re very liquid in our portfolio. We’re not leveraged in any way.”
  • “God has been very good to me … If I should retire and get out of the business because of the government I’ll look at that as a positive message. There’s nothing wrong about being a family office.
  • “The idea of managing your own money not being responsible to anybody has a certain romantic ring to it. But I’m too stupid to do it.”

Cooperman, the keynote speaker at the event, had been scheduled prior to the charges to present and spent most of the hour discussing his market outlook (bullish on stocks) and industry trends.

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