John Paulson, the billionaire hedge fund manager, recently announced a $100 million (£62 million) to New York’s Central Park Conservancy, marking a historic donation, which is the biggest gift to the public park and his second-biggest in his career as a philanthropist.
Central Park Conservancy said John Paulson’s gift will “allow for improvements to park-wide infrastructure, Central Park’s 21 playgrounds, 130 acres of woodlands, five visitor centers, and youth and family programming and recreation facilities.”
John Paulson’s major donations till date include a $20 million (£12.4 million) gift to New York University, his alma mater, in 2009, $5 million (£3.1 million) to Southampton Hospital near his summer home and $15 million (£9.3 million) to build a maternity hospital in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where his father was born and for whom the facility will be named. The pledge, which will be paid out by Paulson and his Paulson Family Foundation.
John Paulson became a billionaire in 2007 when he struck gold by short-selling subprime mortgages in 2007, when he earned $3.7 billion (£2.29 billion) that year. John Paulson broke the hedge fund record in 2010 by earning $5 billion (£3.1 billion). The collapse of mortgage backed securities market catapulted him to the rich bracket.
In 1994, John Paulson founded Paulson & Co., his hedge fund company. In September 2008, Paulson hedge fund bet against four of the five biggest British banks including a £350m bet against Barclays, £292m against Royal Bank of Scotland; and £260m against Lloyds. Paulson hedge fund is reported to have earned a total of £280m after reducing its short position in RBS in January 2009.
In 2011, John Paulson made bad trades in Bank of America, Citigroup and the ill-famed Chinese company Sino-Forest Corporation. During the same period, his Paulson Advantage Fund was also down by 40%. Paulson’s fortunes turned when his personal investments in gold during that period gave him immense returns. John Paulson made $3.1 billion (£1.9 billion) from September 2010 to September 2011 through gold investments, which turned him into a billionaire.