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US short-seller Muddy Waters doubles down on Burford Capital attack

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Carson Block, founding partner of Muddy Waters Research LLC, speaks on a panel discussion at the annual Skybridge Alternatives Conference (SALT) in Las Vegas May 10, 2013. Photo: REUTERS/Rick Wilking

US short-seller Muddy Waters Research has released another report attacking London-listed Burford Capital (BUR.L), doubling down on claims that it has manipulated its accounts.

Muddy Waters put out a 12-page report on Tuesday renewing claims that litigation financing firm Burford manipulated its accounts to show inflated gains on legal cases it has funded.

In the new report, Muddy Waters focuses on one case it had previously highlighted alleged issues with.

Muddy Waters claims Burford “egregiously manipulated” returns from the case and said Burford’s initial response to the accusations were “outrageously misleading.” The report contains US legal filings that Muddy Waters argues support its claims.

A spokesperson for Burford Capital told Yahoo Finance UK: “We have already explained at length on 8 August why Muddy Waters’ claim in relation to this matter is false.”

READ MORE: Burford Capital crashes 60% after attack from US short seller Muddy Waters

Tuesday’s report is the third released by Muddy Waters on Burford Capital since the start of the month. Muddy Waters, one of the best known short-sellers in the US, said the company was “arguably insolvent” and governance was “laughter-inducing.”

Burford has consistently denied the accusations and accused Muddy Waters of market manipulation, a charge Muddy Waters has denied. Regulators are investigating.

While Burford has denied the accounting charges, the aggressive reports from Muddy Waters have brought about changes in management. The litigation financing company appointed a new CFO earlier this month.

READ MORE: Short seller denies Burford Capital claims of market manipulation: 'This is entirely normal'

Last week it emerged that Burford Capital and one of its senior executives are fighting in a case in London’s High Court against claims the firm traded sensitive documents for a sex tape in an unrelated incident.

Separately on Tuesday, Burford said its deputy chairman Hugh Wilson purchased close to $250,000-worth of company bonds.

Burford Capital shares were up 2.7% in early trade on Tuesday, however, the stock price remains around 40% lower than prior to Muddy Waters’ first report at the start of the month.


Oscar Williams-Grut covers banking, fintech, and finance for Yahoo Finance UK. Follow him on Twitter at@OscarWGrut.

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