£50m payday for Paulson Europe team

PAULSON Europe, the UK arm of the hedge fund that made £400m betting against British banks during the financial crisis, boosted its revenues by 42 per cent last year.

Four directors shared more than £50m for the 12 months to March as profits soared, according to the latest accounts. The highest-paid director, thought to be billionaire owner John Paulson, received £28.6m. The three London-based partners – Nikolai Petchenikov, Harry St John Cooper and Mina Gerowin – shared the remaining £22.2m between them.

In 2008, US parent Paulson & Co netted paper gains of £394m after it shorted stock in Barclays, Lloyds, HBOS and RBS. The firm was allowed to hold its positions throughout the ban on short-selling because it put them in place before the moratorium was announced.

It is thought Paulson’s success continued into 2009 as he effectively called the bottom of the market by switching into long positions in state-backed banks.

The latest payout is an increase on the £37m pot shared by the four partners in 2007/8. It comes as the boards of state-backed institutions, notably RBS, struggle to negotiate bonus packages with the government.