Connor O'Brien (alpine skier)
O'Brien was born in Montreal, Canada. In the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics, he obtained the 33rd place in the downhill event, representing the British team. After that he competed for the Canadian team. As the result of two shoulder operations (in 1985 and 1986), O'Brien announced ending his career. O'Brien made his comeback in the Lillehammer Olympics representing the Estonian team, but didn't finish in the downhill event.
O’Brien, with his wife, Louise Anne Poirier, launched principal investment firm Stanton Capital Corp. in 1995 in order to join a consortium led by ACERCO S.A. to bid for Peruvian state steel company Siderperu. The consortium, named Sider Corp, acquired 96.46% of Siderperu in 1996. Being O’Brien’s first investment, he vastly underestimated the difficulties of an American lead consortium taking over a Peruvian state run company. Peru’s investment agency ProInversion took back 56% as Sider Corp failed to meet loan payments. Sider Corp eventually filed for bankruptcy.
O’Brien subsequently decided to focus on shipping, using Stanton Capital Corp to invest in three businesses; Esco, Millenium Seacarriers and MaritimeDirect. O’Brien’s venture into shipping started with Esco, an Estonian state controlled company. O’Brien used family links to Estonia to privatize Esco in 1997. O’Brien was forced to sell his Esco investment to Norway’s Tschudi & Eitzen in order to recoup some money after dismal showings in both MaritimeDirect and Millenium Seacarriers.
In 2001, bondholder Wayland Investment filed suit against Millenium Seacarriers and O'Brien claiming they "enriched themselves at the expense of the bondholders and other investors and creditors" by charging high management fees and executing a number of irregular sale-and-purchase transactions. Millenium Seacarriers came to a dramatic out-of court agreement to hand over control of all but one of its ships.
O’Brien’s third shipping venture, MaritimeDirect, ended in the hands of creditors also, after numerous controversies drove the debt-ridden business to bancruptcy. MartimeDirect faced legal action from Spinnaker Consulting related to unpaid fees, along with controversies of benefiting from leaked proprietary information.
O’Brien dissolved Stanton Capital Corp, and decided to return to Canada in order to find new sources of financing. In 2004, under new name Stanton Asset Management, O'Brien launched two funds of hedge funds (Stanton International Equity and the Stanton Diversified Strategies funds). O'Brien employed excessive levels of leverage in the funds charging management fees on a greater sum of assets. The funds blew up in late 2008, with massive losses amplified by the fund’s use of leverage, with investors losing up to 70% of their money. O'Brien suspended redemptions, inhibiting investors from having access to their capital.
In 2010, O’Brien through his limited partnership O’Leary Funds Management launched a legal suit against Boralex Inc. The suit was quickly dismissed by Quebec Superior Court. Boralex subsequently filed a counterclaim for over $1.4 million against O’Leary Funds Management LP.
In 2014, the Autorité des marchés financiers charged O’Leary Funds Management LP with failing to comply with various provisions under the Securities Act, namely, the restriction regarding securities concentration in a portfolio, the requirement to publish and file in a timely manner a press release informing the public about changes to a fund’s fundamental investment objectives, the requirement to hold insurance coverage in accordance with regulations and the requirement to notify the AMF of any change to the information filed for registration purposes. With respect to the latter requirement, O’Leary Funds Management LP had failed to declare that it was the subject of a counterclaim for damages. O'Leary settled and agreed to pay penalties.
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