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Hedge fund titan Crispin Odey bets on pound, says Brexit won’t happen



Crispin Odey, the Brexit-backing billionaire hedge fund manager, now says that Britain won’t actually end up leaving the European Union, and is betting big on the pound jumping as a result.

Odey, the founder of Odey Asset Management, a London-based hedge fund, made headlines in the aftermath of Britain’s initial vote to leave the EU after making a reported £110 million from short bets placed against the pound in the run up to the referendum.

Odey has since changed his tune, now saying the complications which have plagued Britain’s exit process, and the probable lack of a parliamentary majority for Theresa May’s Brexit deal, mean that leaving the European Union will ultimately be abandoned.

“My view is that it ain’t going to happen,” Odey said in an interview with Reuters. “I just can’t see how it happens with that configuration of parliament.”

“The unfortunate thing is that almost nobody is leading the Brexit charge, so it’s leaderless, which is the problem,” said Odey, who made significant donations to the Vote Leave campaign.

Read more: How Brexit will play out if MPs reject Theresa May’s deal

Odey says his stance on Brexit means he’s positioning for a significant increase in the pound.

The currency “looks like it could be quite strong,” Odey told Reuters, saying he sees potential for the pound to reach a level of between $1.32 and $1.35, a gain of as much as 5.5% from its current level.

He did not reveal the size of his bets.

The pound has fallen around 14% against the dollar in the two and a half years since the referendum, more recently seeing a significant decline in light of the hardships faced by Prime Minister Theresa May in persuading UK lawmakers to get behind her Brexit deal.

Odey’s view that Brexit won’t actually happen is shared by fellow billionaire financier, Peter Hargreaves, the founder of FTSE 100 investments firm Hargreaves Lansdown.

“I have totally given up. I am totally in despair, I don’t think Brexit will happen at all,” Hargreaves, who donated more than £3 million to the Leave campaign, told Reuters.

“They [pro EU politicians] are banking on the fact that people are so fed up with it that they will just say ‘sod it we will stay’. I do see that attitude. The problem is when something doesn’t happen for so long you feel less angry about it.”

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