Saturday, March 31, 2012

*Sigh* No Forest

In a move that should surprise no one, Canadian/Chinese forestry company Sino-Forest filed for bankruptcy in Canada yesterday. The timing of the filing shouldn't be a surprise either, since the company was due to deliver its 2011 audited financial statements and also unsurprisingly couldn't find an auditing firm willing to sign off on them.

Thus, the saga which began ten months ago when short-seller/analyst Carson Block put out a report stating that the company was a fraud, is winding down.

In the interim, we've seen a famed hedge fund manager (John Paulson) humbled, a kiwi billionaire (Richard Chandler) lose a $100 million+ bet and a committee of Sino-Forest's own directors spend $50 million to investigate itself, concluding in a nutshell that the trees exist, but they're not sure if the company owns them in any way.

We've also seen a criminal probe by the Canadian authorities, which is likely to end in the conviction of no-one.

Lawsuits abound, including class-actions against the company (good luck with that), the former auditors (Ernst&Young), directors and executives. Not to be outdone, Sino-Forest is suing Mr. Block for $4 billion  dollars. As one internet poster put it "That will teach him to expose fraud".

The lesson here, children, is not that fraud doesn't pay, It's that you have to do it right.

Be sure to set up in impenetrable and incompatible jurisdictions. When you're exposed, deny, deny and then deny some more. Countersue your accusers and/or the authorities. Pay yourself millions to investigate yourself, giving time to put your person and your assets well out of reach of those greedy lawyers and their needy victim clients. Blame your boss or your subordinates.

Remember, the truth will not set your free. The opposite is much, much, more likely. /sarcasm


  1. JM Delano, Where are you? This is DYU. I enjoyed our conversations. If you're out there somewhere, I would like chat.