A Paulson & Co. partner that once worked for a Bernie Madoff feeder fund plunged to his death in an apparent suicide Monday.
Charles Murphy, 56, was found on the fourth-floor terrace of luxury New York hotel Sofitel, after jumping from a room on the 24th floor, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter.
“We are extremely saddened by this news,” John Paulson, the founder of Paulson & Co., said in a statement Tuesday to Bloomberg. “Charles was an extremely gifted and brilliant man, a great partner and a true friend. Our deepest prayers are with his family.”
Murphy previously worked at Fairfield Greenwich. That fund had invested over $7 billion in with Madoff, before the Ponzi scheme was unmasked. In 2009, Murphy joined Paulson & Co., where he was leading the fund’s activist investing activities in AIG.
Paulson’s firm, alongside presidential advisor Carl Icahn’s firm Icahn Enterprises, have been pushing for the company to break up. Earlier this month, AIG announced CEO Peter Hancock would step down — a move that at least won Carl Icahn’s approval.
Paulson & Co. hasn’t had an easy time in recently. In 2016, the firm made famous for betting billions against the subprime mortgages before the financial crisis lost some $3 billion according to Bloomberg. Paulson’s investors were also losing faith in the fund fast, with $2.5 billion in outflows that year, according to people familiar with the matter to Fortune last year. Most hedge funders have a sizable annual bonus largely dependent on the fund’s market profits, which means managers’ compensation can be significantly reduced when the fund loses money.
And roughly a year ago, Murphy also put his Upper East Side limestone townhouse back on the market for about $50 million at the time. Now, the house is still on the market, but its price has been cut to $36,500,000. Murphy had previously tried to sell it off in 2009, after Madoff’s Ponzi scheme was revealed. At the time, Murphy had only owned the home for two years.
Murphy’s apparent suicide also comes at a time when Wall Street has begun to worry about the rash of similar incidents linked to the industry. Data from the Center for Disease Control in 2014 revealed that yes, those in the financial services space are roughly 39% more likely to commit suicide than the wider workforce.