Illustration by Kristian Hammerstad  

Even billionaires have emotions, Alexandra Cohen had taken to saying. Her husband, Steve Cohen, is the billionaire in query. He’s one of the crucial profitable hedge-fund managers in historythe Michael Jordan of buying and selling, within the phrases of 1 Wall Road observer. He’d constructed SAC Capital Advisors into one of the crucial worthwhile hedge funds on the planet whereas amassing a web value estimated at $11 billion. Cohen was by no means recognized for his consideration to emotions. He had a fame for brusque, money-talks-bullshit-walks workplace interactions. He was the other of a sentimentalistif one in every of his merchants missed his numbers, he was gone.

However that was earlier than U.S. Legal professional Preet Bharara, suspecting him and his agency of insider buying and selling, started pursuing Cohen as if he had been against the law boss. Federal brokers bugged his house cellphone and raided the places of work of former staff who’d began their very own hedge funds. They subpoenaed tens of millions of pages of SAC paperwork whereas working their manner up the chain of command, flipping one former worker after one other. They even had one previous portfolio supervisor try to infiltrate Cohen’s firm by getting himself rehired, although Cohen didn’t take the bait.

As Bharara’s internet closed round him, Cohen complained to associates that his success had made him a goal. I’m not doing something totally different than 100 different folks have performed, he mentioned to a colleague. It’s not who I’m, it’s what I’m. He known as Wall Road friends, trolling for sympathy: I really feel like I’m watching a nasty film and I’m the star, he’d say. On trip one yr, he ran right into a fellow hedge-fund supervisor: It’s not honest, he complained. Why me?

The denouement of a pursuit so relentless couldn’t have been apart from an anticlimax. Finally, Bharara couldn’t make a case in opposition to Cohen, however at a press convention on July 25, 2013, the prosecutor introduced a sweeping indictment in opposition to his firm. Bharara’s language was as brutal as something Cohen had ever mentioned on the buying and selling ground. Amongst different issues, he known as SAC a veritable magnet of market cheaters and steered that Cohen bore accountability for institutional indifference to illegal conduct [that] resulted in insider buying and selling that was substantial, pervasive, and on a scale with out recognized precedent within the hedge-fund trade.

For Steve Cohen, there was an irony in Bharara’s quest: A number of years earlier than the indictment, the billionaire had already decided to alter his life. Cohen had all the time been a homebodythough house was a country-club-like Greenwich mansion on 18 acres, with a basketball court docket, an indoor pool, and a two-hole golf course (he seldom performed on it). He bunkered there, or in one in every of his two East Hampton properties, surrounded by a billion-dollar artwork assortment. The scenes he made most frequently had been at Chelsea artwork galleries, accompanied by his youngest daughter, or on the sidelines at an older daughter’s soccer video games.

20 years earlier, he’d married Alexandra Garcia, a single mom he met by means of a relationship serviceshe was the one one in every of 20 girls who responded to his invitation. She, too, had few social ambitions. They didn’t entertain lavishly and infrequently went to charity capabilities. After they did, their images didn’t seem within the society pages, as a result of Cohen would purchase up the rights to each out there photograph of himself. Largely, their lives had been organized round dinner, served each evening at six. We’re common, we’re regular, Alex insisted.

If on the buying and selling ground Cohen was a voracious, unsentimental monster, working his will, conquering all he noticed, and verbally thrashing any worker who made a misstep, off obligation the swagger disappearedhe was simply one other zhlub in a polo shirt. Requested to offer his opinion on the outlook for enterprise, he would demur: Who would wish to hear what I’ve to say?

With Steve Cohen, for a really very long time, there have been two dimensions: house and buying and selling. He couldn’t even think about one other risk. When a good friend requested, Why do you retain doing it?, he responded, What else is there to do?

However by 2010, when he was 53, Cohen had undergone a changesome noticed it as a midlife disaster. He’d begun to surprise what different abilities he had, what different type of particular person he may very well be.

One mannequin was mentioned to be billionaire George Soros, an unlikely aspiration for a suburban child from Nice Neck, Lengthy Islandthough the 2 shared the identical Rain Manlike reward for seeing patterns in streams of numbers. Sorosa Hungarian-born Jew who had escaped the Holocaust and turn out to be an writer, Ph.D., and billionaire investorbubbled with concepts in regards to the world financial system and was decided to see them performed out on the world stage.

Cohen had by no means been an intellectualhe bragged about taking part in poker by means of the College of Pennsylvania. And he’d by no means mentioned a public phrase about politics. At SAC, nobody knew if he was a Democrat or a Republican.