The Mustique Connection And The "Lucky" Number 12

by Rachelle Hruska · January 5, 2009

The similarities between top Madoff pitchman Walter Noel and ever-smiling socialite pitchman Arpad "Arki" Busson are interesting to say the least.  While Noel's Fairfield Greenwich Group was highly vaunted as the main entry point into the Madoff fund, it's beginning to look as if Busson's EIM asset management fund may have been a quasi European equivalent.  With already confirmed losses of $500million+, a tipster indicates that the losses could be in fact much greater when it's all said and done:

Busson has only declared about $500 million US/£230 million (5% of their portfolio), but its unclear how much he really lost.  Remember he is Swiss-based, and different regulatory laws could allow him to be much less forthcoming right now, giving him some breathing room to scramble to try and make back the gap so that investors don't go batshit.

So what exactly do the Noels and Busson have in common?  Socially, the Post points out that Busson's ex-fiance's brother is a Noel son-in-law

Philip Toub, the husband of Alix [Noel], is the younger brother of socialite Veronica Toub, who was engaged to Arpad ("Arki") Busson in the 1980s[NY Post]

Georgraphically, Busson and the Noels are neighbors on the island of Mustique.

What is also interesting is that Busson's returns seem to have virtually mimicked Madoff's lucky number 12% for the past decade.

On average, EIM's portfolios have generated gross returns of just under 12 per cent annually over the past decade [Wikipedia]

Which made Ascot attractive...after many years of returns in the range of 12% to 15% [Forbes]

But what's curious is the villification of Noel, and the heavy scrutiny placed on him juxtaposed to that of Busson.  Perhaps Busson's affable character has given more of the perception of a "victim" but he is theoretically in the same place. Though his fees may have been less, and his losses probably less, he was equally as irresponsible and equally social (if not more so).