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 probably the most 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 probably the most worthwhile hedge funds on the planet whereas amassing a internet value estimated at $11 billion. Cohen was by no means recognized for his consideration to emotions. He had a repute for brusque, money-talks-bullshit-walks workplace interactions. He was the other of a sentimentalistif considered one of his merchants missed his numbers, he was gone.

However that was earlier than U.S. Lawyer 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 workplaces of former workers who’d began their very own hedge funds. They subpoenaed hundreds of thousands of pages of SAC paperwork whereas working their approach 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 net closed round him, Cohen complained to associates that his success had made him a goal. I’m not doing something completely different than 100 different individuals have achieved, he stated to a colleague. It’s not who I’m, it’s what I’m. He referred to 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 truthful, 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 stated on the buying and selling flooring. Amongst different issues, he referred to as SAC a veritable magnet of market cheaters and prompt 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 at all times been a homebodythough house was a country-club-like Greenwich mansion on 18 acres, with a basketball courtroom, an indoor pool, and a two-hole golf course (he seldom performed on it). He bunkered there, or in considered one 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.

Twenty years earlier, he’d married Alexandra Garcia, a single mom he met via a relationship serviceshe was the one considered one of 20 ladies who responded to his invitation. She, too, had few social ambitions. They didn’t entertain lavishly and rarely went to charity features. After they did, their images didn’t seem within the society pages, as a result of Cohen would purchase up the rights to each obtainable photograph of himself. Principally, their lives had been organized round dinner, served each night time at six. We’re common, we’re regular, Alex insisted.

If on the buying and selling flooring 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 present 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 skills he had, what different sort of particular person he may very well be.

One mannequin was stated 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 creator, Ph.D., and billionaire investorbubbled with concepts in regards to the international 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 via the College of Pennsylvania. And he’d by no means stated a public phrase about politics. At SAC, nobody knew if he was a Democrat or a Republican.