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Blind item guess game: Which commodities trader has to buy his friends?

Tuesday, 12 Nov 2013 | 2:43 PM ET
Roy Hsu | Photographer's Choice RF | Getty Images

The New York Observer has a fun piece about wealthy New Yorkers whose circle of friends consist mainly of people they pay. Apparently it's easier than real friendship because money makes everything better. Or something.

In any case, what caught my eye was this passage (emphasis added):

But one evening, I found myself at a dinner party seated next to the glamorous ex-wife of one of New York's most enigmatic commodities traders, noted for his custom suits and contraband supply of Cubans. Having received a lucrative divorce settlement, she was more than willing to open up about her ex-husband's assortment of paid friends. In fact, after I artfully plied her with Avión and an orange twist, she couldn't seem to talk about anything else.

"Everyone, and I mean everyone, was on the payroll." She played with her chestnut-size South Sea pearls. "When we first started dating, I was annoyed that so many people were always around. But I learned that powerful men all have posses."

So who is this enigmatic commodities trader? We have a couple of hints. Divorced, expensively. Smoker of cigars, Cuban. Known for custom-made suits.

Marc Rich comes to mind first. But he's dead and the rest of the piece kind of implies the trader is still alive. Bruce Kovner is a natty dresser, divorced and people say he enjoys cigars. He's also known for being very secretive and never gives interviews. But Kovner was divorced back in 1998. The Observer piece makes the divorce sound more recent. Maybe Victor Niederhoffer? He is enigmatic (go read Daily Speculations and try to figure out what they're talking about), divorced but not especially known for custom suits. I have no idea about cigars, but probably, right?

Neither Kovner nor Niederhoffer could be reached for comment. Rich declined to respond to messages left for him via Ouija board.

So we're still in the dark about who the mysterious trader might be. Feel free to leave a guess in the comments or tweet it with the hastag #enigmatrader.

—By CNBC's John Carney. Follow him on Twitter @Carney

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