Jump to content

Andrew Left

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Andrew Left
Born (1970-07-09) July 9, 1970 (age 53)
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materNortheastern University
Occupation(s)Financial analyst, financial writer, short seller
Years active1995 – present
OrganizationCitron Research
Known forActivist short selling
Andrea Left
(m. 2001⁠–⁠2008)
  • Stephanie Left

Andrew Edward Left (born July 9, 1970) is an activist, short seller, author and editor of the online investment newsletter Citron Research, formerly StockLemon.com.[1][2] Under the name Citron Research, Left publishes reports on firms that he claims are overvalued or are engaged in fraud. Left is known for advising investors on short selling and has often appeared on various media outlets such as CNBC and Bloomberg to talk about his opinions on stocks.[3][4] In 2017, Left was called 'The Bounty Hunter of Wall Street' by The New York Times.[5] Left gained further notoriety following his announced short of GameStop, precipitating a short squeeze that has hurt him and other short sellers in the short term.[6]

Citron launched 51 investigative reports against S&P 500 companies, as well as several Chinese companies, citing allegations of pyramid schemes, ineffective products and accounting, or business frauds.[7] In 2016, Left was banned for five years by the Hong Kong Market Misconduct Tribunal (chaired by Mr Justice Michael Hartmann) for allegedly disclosing false or misleading information in connection with the publication of a research report on Chinese property developer Evergrande Group, and so inducing transactions under the Securities and Futures Ordinance.[8][9] Although Left's report was correct, his punishment was not rescinded.[10] Despite being sued by multiple companies for the reports he has released, Left claims he has never lost a case in the United States;[4][11] however, before Citron Research, the National Futures Association sanctioned Left and stated that he "made false and misleading statements to cheat, defraud or deceive a customer in violation of NFA compliance rules."[12][13]

Early life and career[edit]

Left was born in a Detroit suburb[14] to a Jewish family and later moved with his family to Coral Springs, Florida. He attended Coral Springs High School where he was a member of the debate team and president of the Jewish youth group.[15] He attended Northeastern University in 1993.[16]

Left's first job was with Universal Commodity Corp, a high-pressure commodities brokerage firm that hired salespeople to make cold calls and push "questionable investments."[14] Left quit in March 1994, after 9 months with the company. When the National Futures Association sanctioned the firm in December 1998, Left, along with every other former employee, was sanctioned for three years along with being required to take an ethics-training course as part of the probe into the firm for making false statements to sell commodity futures contracts.[12] The National Futures Association stated Left “made false and misleading statements to cheat, defraud or deceive a customer in violation of NFA compliance rules.” [13]

Left became active in short selling by the age of 24. He has cited his experience with Universal Commodity Corp as the reason he started short selling stocks promoted by boiler-room scams.[4] When the boiler rooms eventually went out of business, Left started shorting stocks from bulletin-board scams, in which people would send out email blasts saying, "Buy this stock now or you'll miss out."[15]

In April 1999, Left became president and CEO of Detour Media. He was named director of the company in November 1999.[16][17][18]

Left switched to shorting the stocks full-time,[14] using his own research to publish free reports on firms he feels are overvalued or engaged in fraud.[4] In 2001, he founded StockLemon.com, now known as Citron Research. According to Left, he has made profits every year since he started short selling.[19] He was a keynote speaker at the 2017 and 2018 Harvard Business School Investment Conference.[20][21]

Citron Research[edit]

Left started StockLemon.com in 2001 as a self-published blog containing reports on controversial companies. He rebranded the site as Citron Research in 2007.[4][14][22] Left researches and short sells companies he believes to be engaged in fraud, have been suspiciously promoted, or have been mistakenly overpriced by the stock market.[23][24]

According to a Wall Street Journal analysis of 111 Citron short-sale reports spanning from 2001 to 2014, there was an average share-price decline of 42 percent in the year after Left's report was released. Of those shares, 90 were lower one year later while 21 gained, according to data from S&P Capital IQ.[4]

GTX Global Corp. sued Left for defamation after a 2005 article he published through Citron about GTX Global. In 2007, the case was dismissed under California's anti-SLAPP statutes which cover writings about publicly traded companies as matters of public interest.[25][26]

In 2008, Left released a report in which he concluded that Home Solutions was not transparent about the company's relationship with American Renaissance. Home Solutions had loaned money to American Renaissance before the "partnership" was disclosed publicly. As a result of Left's research, Home Solutions’ stock plummeted.[27] Starting in 2012, Left published multiple reports about Questcor Pharmaceuticals centered around incorrect labeling of the drug Acthar's ingredients. When Questcor was acquired by Mallinckrodt, Left criticized the new company for continued misconduct.[28] Several of Left's reports have become highly publicized, including a 2012 report on the legality of operations by Nu Skin Enterprises, and a 2015 report on Valeant Pharmaceuticals bringing attention to inflated sales.[7][29]

In October 2015, The Globe and Mail of Toronto, quoted independent research firm 5i Research Inc CEO Peter Hodson, as stating that "What they seem to do quite well is they're able to spin existing facts into a horrible scenario. It reads very badly," and that "Their job as a company is to create the most amount of panic so they and their clients can make the most amount of money."[30]

Citron Research published a report on May 19, 2019, regarding African eCommerce company Jumia, one month after its IPO had resulted in shares values rising about 250 percent. Subsequent to the Citron report, stock value dropped by 50 percent in one week. Citron alleged “material discrepancies” between the IPO filing and a confidential presentation made by Jumia to its investors on October 18, 2018. Citron Research alleged that the company had presented incorrect figures concerning active users, specifically, its percentage of product returned and active customers before the IPO.[31] By August 2019, Jumia was named in several class-action suits related to employee fraud.[32]

In January 2021, Citron Research stated in an interview[33] held by Andrew Left that the company has covered the majority of its short positions after the GameStop short squeeze in the $90s/share at a loss of 100%, now having a small manageable position. The Wall Street Journal reported Left being targeted online, including an incident where Left's social media accounts were hacked to text his children and used "threatening, profane and personal language".[34][35][36]

Valeant Pharmaceuticals[edit]

Left's 2015 report on Valeant Pharmaceutical (later known as Bausch Health) accused the company of channel stuffing[37] and using sham transactions to inflate drug sales. Left's initial report focused on an investigation launched by Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Elijah Cummings that examined Valeant's business model of massively spiking the prices of drugs to which it had acquired marketing rights.[38] Left followed up with a report focused on pharmaceutical distributor Philidor RX.[39] Left called for the US Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate the issue and referred to the company as the "Pharmaceutical Enron".[40][41] As a result of the report, Valeant shares dropped after a five-year peak,[42] eventually falling more than 90 percent from its peak in August 2015, and announced the resignation of longtime CEO J. Michael Pearson the following March.[43][44]


In October 2017, Left released a report calling Shopify "a business dirtier than Herbalife", claiming it overstated the amount of merchants using the e-commerce platform and described it as a "get-rich-quick" scheme in contravention of Federal Trade Commission regulations.[45][46] The day the report was released, the stock plunged more than 11%.[47] Left wrote another report about Shopify in April 2019, stating he believed Shopify's stock price would come down 50% in the next 12 months.[48] In January 2020, Left announced in his annual letter to investors that Citron Research had exited the short position. The reports did not lead to an investigation into Shopify by the FTC.[49]

Citron's reports on Chinese companies[edit]

Citron Research has published reports on 18 Chinese companies, 16 of which experienced a drop in stock prices, with 15 of them experiencing drops of over 70%.[50] This has caused a collective of Chinese business leaders, including Qihoo 360 CEO Zhou Hongyi (a company that has been targeted by Left), to launch a site called CitronFraud.com (no longer operating).[51] Left sent a legal notice to the 60 Chinese executives involved, seeking an apology, and told Tech In Asia that he is consulting with lawyers and considering legal action in response.[52]

Qihoo 360 has threatened to take legal action against Citron Research, as has former Google China chief Kai-Fu Lee, now the chairman and CEO of Innovation Works.[53][54] In 2012, Lee posted a detailed, point-by-point rebuttal, via Sinocism, to Chinese investment platform Xueqiu.com, which also suggests that Citron had taken advantage of reader unfamiliarity with Chinese languages and markets. Lee stated that, "Since Citron has already made big bets on these recommendations before their reports are published... Citron’s recommendation doesn’t have to be right; Citron just needs to mislead their readers to follow their recommendations!”[55]

Longtop Financial[edit]

In 2011, Left released a report through Citron about Longtop Financial, a financial software house based in China, accusing it of defrauding shareholdings, over-reporting revenues, and lacking transparency in the company's acquisition process.[56] The report pointed out Longtop's outsized margins and unexplained stock grants and pointed out Longtop's relationship with China's largest banks.[57][58] The company was later issued a Wells notice of impending criminal charges from the SEC.[59]

Evergrande Group and Market Misconduct Tribunal sanction[edit]

In 2012, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission commenced proceedings in the Market Misconduct Tribunal against Left, contending that he had spread false and misleading information about Evergrande Group in a report published that year on Citron Research's website. In that report, Left had alleged that Evergrande was insolvent and had consistently presented fraudulent information to the investing public.[60]

In 2016, the Hong Kong Market Misconduct Tribunal (chaired by Mr Justice Michael Hartmann) found that Left was culpable of market misconduct by publishing claims about Evergrande Group that were "false and/or misleading as to material facts or through the omission of material facts". Left was banned from trading for five years, ordered to repay around HK$1.6 million in trading profits and about HK$4 million in legal costs and expenses incurred by the SFC, and would face criminal prosecution if he breaks Hong Kong market misconduct rules again.[8][9][61][62]

In 2019, the Hong Kong Court of Appeal dismissed Left's appeal against the decision of the Market Misconduct Tribunal.[63] The Court of Appeal dismissed Left's application for leave to appeal to the Court of Final Appeal.[64] On 8 July 2020, the Court of Final Appeal also dismissed Left's application for leave to appeal.[65]

In 2021, Left's claims were shown to be correct as the Evergrande Group signaled that they will not be able to pay off the interest on $300 billion in liabilities, sparking a global market sell-off. Despite being correct, Left was quoted as saying "I am not vindicated because I'm still banned."[10]

Personal life[edit]

Left has four children, two from his previous marriage.[66] Left is married to his wife, Stephanie.[15]


In 2018, following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Left created a scholarship for students of the school. The award provides five seniors per year between 2018 and 2021 a $10,000 scholarship.[67]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Drug Maker Questor Down on Short Seller Comments". Reuters. 2012-07-10. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  2. ^ "Citron Research Vindicated - The Motley Fool Blog". Caps.fool.com. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  3. ^ Paul R. La Monica (March 2, 2016). "More bad news for Tesla and Elon Musk". CNN. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Matt Wirz (October 22, 2015). "The 'Short' Who Sank Valeant Stock". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  5. ^ Jesse Barron (8 June 2017). "The Bounty Hunter of Wall Street". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "GameStop Shares Soar as Citron Abandons Stock".
  7. ^ a b Oliver Renick; Anna-Louise Jackson; Joseph Ciolli (October 21, 2015). "Ackman Feeling Shortseller's Sting as Citron Sinks Valeant Stock". Bloomberg. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  8. ^ a b "The report of the Market Misconduct Tribunal into dealings in the shares of Evergrande Real Estate Group Limited on 21 June 2012 (Part I)" (PDF). Market Misconduct Tribunal. 26 August 2016.
  9. ^ a b "The report of the Market Misconduct Tribunal into dealings in the shares of Evergrande Real Estate Group Limited on 21 June 2012 (Part II)" (PDF). Market Misconduct Tribunal. 10 November 2016.
  10. ^ a b Fox, Matthew (September 20, 2021). "Short-seller Andrew Left warned investors of Evergrande's looming insolvency nearly 10 years ago - and was banned from trading in Hong Kong as a result". Business Insider.
  11. ^ "Citron's Andrew Left on Life As A Short-Seller". Business Insider. December 9, 2011. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  12. ^ a b Daniel Bases; David Gaffen (October 21, 2015). "Citron's Left hits nerve with new Valeant broadside". Reuters. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  13. ^ a b Niall McGee (October 21, 2015). "Who is Citron Research?". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  14. ^ a b c d Daniel Bases; Ryan Vlastelica; Clare Baldwin; Mark Bendeich (August 5, 2011). "Special report: The "shorts" who popped a China bubble". Reuters. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  15. ^ a b c Julia La Roche (November 9, 2015). "Meet the short-seller single-handedly crushing the titans of the hedge fund industry". Business Insider. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  16. ^ a b "Detour Media Group Inc". SEC. December 31, 2000. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  17. ^ Susan Carpenter (July 3, 2001). "It's Publish and Perish in L.A." Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  18. ^ "Detour Media Launches Detour Custom Publishing". The Write News. June 20, 2000. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  19. ^ Julie Steinberg (March 15, 2016). "The Short Who Got Valeant Right Is on Trial in Hong Kong". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  20. ^ "2017 Investment Conference".
  21. ^ "Speakers". HBS Investment Conference.
  22. ^ "Evergrande Stock Tumbles on Fraud Accusation - Market Watch". Articles.marketwatch.com. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  23. ^ "Nu Skin Shares Fall After Short-Seller Questions China Ops - Reuters". In.reuters.com. 2012-08-07. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  24. ^ Weil, Jonathan (2013-12-05). "Weil on Finance: Carl Icahn's Mug". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  25. ^ Martin Samson. "GTX Global Corp. v. Left". Internet Library of Law and Court Decisions. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  26. ^ "GTX Global Corp. v. Left". Digital Media Law Project. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  27. ^ Gordon Russell (January 15, 2008). "Disaster rebuilder faces storm of its own". Nola.com. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  28. ^ Cynthia Koons (November 9, 2015). "Mallinckrodt's $35,000 Drug Is Back in the Spotlight". Bloomberg. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  29. ^ Yukhananov, Anna (2012-08-16). "Exclusive: Nu Skin told not to use researcher's name". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  30. ^ "Who is Citron Research?" by Niall McGee; The Globe and Mail; OCTOBER 21, 2015.
  31. ^ Munshi, Neil; Pilling, David (10 May 2019). "Jumia falls sharply after Citron claims fraud". Financial Times. Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  32. ^ "Jumia pain may not be over as shares slump below IPO price" By David Whitehouse; The Africa Report; October 8, 2019.
  33. ^ "An update from Citron Research". YouTube. 2021-01-27.
  34. ^ Rogow, Gregory Zuckerman and Geoffrey (2021-01-27). "The GameStop Short Squeeze Shows an Ugly Side of the Investing World". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2021-01-27.
  35. ^ GmbH, finanzen net. "GameStop short-sellers Melvin Capital and Citron surrender their bearish bets after 700% rally drives huge losses". markets.businessinsider.com. Retrieved 2021-01-27.
  36. ^ "Citron Research covered majority of GameStop short position in $90s/share (NYSE:GME)". SeekingAlpha. Retrieved 2021-01-27.
  37. ^ John Melloy, Everett Rosenfeld (October 21, 2015). "I bought 2M shares of Valeant today; I believe in the company". CNBC. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  38. ^ Michael Hiltzik (November 3, 2015). "Valeant scandal shows why we need short-sellers in the stock market". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  39. ^ "Valeant Plunges 30% After Short Seller Citron Research Makes Fraud Allegation". Forbes. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  40. ^ Fred Imbert (May 17, 2016). "Citron's Andre Left: Yes, I'm long Valeant, but…". CNBC. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  41. ^ Linette Lopez (March 2, 2016). "The short seller who took down Valeant is out of the stock because it is 'uninvestable'". Business Insider. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  42. ^ Charles Stein (October 21, 2015). "Bill Ackman among investors feeling Valeant Pharmaceutical Inc's pain with billions erased in stock fall". Financial Post. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  43. ^ Damon van der Linde (May 18, 2016). "Valeant Pharmaceuticals short seller Andrew Left buying into the company does not signal a turnaround, says analyst". Financial Post. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  44. ^ Stephen Gandel (March 20, 2016). "What Caused Valeant's Epic 90% Plunge". Fortune. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  45. ^ Vandaelle, Ian (2017-10-11). "Shopify's CEO calls out Citron's Andrew Left as 'short-selling troll'". BNN Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2023-03-12.
  46. ^ "Short seller Andrew Left says he's found a 'business dirtier than Herbalife'". Business Insider. Archived from the original on November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  47. ^ "Ignore Citron Report and Use This Dip to Buy Shopify Inc (US) (SHOP) Stock". Archived from the original on September 20, 2018. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  48. ^ Curran, Kevin (April 4, 2019). "Shopify Shares Fall Fast Following Report From Short Seller". RealMoney. Archived from the original on October 26, 2019. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  49. ^ Litalien, Mat (2020-01-11). "Shopify's (SHOP) Stock Price Soars As Short Seller Throws in the Towel". The Motley Fool Canada. Archived from the original on 2020-01-11. Retrieved 2023-03-12.
  50. ^ iChinaStock (2011-12-09). "Interview With A Deadeye China Short Seller". Business Insider. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  51. ^ Steven Millward (2012-09-04). "Shit Gets Real, and Personal, as Chinese Business Leaders Slam Short Sellers Citron". Techinasia.com. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  52. ^ Steven Millward (2012-09-06). "Citron's Andrew Left Defends His China Record". Techinasia.com. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  53. ^ "Citron steps up fight against Chinese entrepreneurs|Economy|News|WantChinaTimes.com". Wantchinatimes.com. 2012-09-20. Archived from the original on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  54. ^ "Citron Faces Lawsuit from Qihoo and Kai-Fu Lee_ChinaScope Financial | News". Chinascopefinancial.com. 2012-10-11. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  55. ^ "Prominent Chinese investor Kai-Fu Lee attacks Citron Research over 'ludicrous' search report" by JOSH ONG; The Next Web; August 28, 2012.
  56. ^ "Longtop Financial Technologies under fire from research firms". IBS Intelligence. May 16, 2011. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  57. ^ "Longtop in Trouble:CFO and Auditor Resign". Business Insider. May 23, 2011. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  58. ^ Eddie Staley (August 19, 2011). "Citron Research Sees Longtop Financial as Potential Takeover Target". Benzinga. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  59. ^ "Longtop Financial Fraud Investigation Reaches 'Final Step'". Business Insider. August 30, 2011. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  60. ^ "SFC commences proceedings in Market Misconduct Tribunal over alleged false research report". Securities and Futures Commission. 22 December 2012.
  61. ^ "Hong Kong Bans Short Seller Andrew Left from Market for Five Years". South China Morning Post. October 19, 2016.
  62. ^ Gough, Neil (2016-10-20). "Hong Kong Tribunal Suspends Investor Who Criticized Chinese Firm". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  63. ^ Andrew Edward Left v Securities and Futures Commission, CACV 228/2019, reported at [2019] 2 HKLRD 288
  64. ^ Andrew Edward Left v Securities and Futures Commission, CACV 228/2019
  65. ^ Andrew Edward Left v Securities and Futures Commission, FAMV 195/2019
  66. ^ Carleton English (12 December 2017). "Tycoons Battle Over Kids' $37k-a-Month Child Support Payments". New York Post.
  67. ^ "Broward Education Foundation 2018 Scholarships". Broward Education Foundation.

External links[edit]