AWARD YEAR: 2014
AWARD NAME: 12 The Morton Frank Award 2014
AWARD RECIPIENTS: Cam Simpson and Jesse Westbrook
AWARD RECIPIENT AFFILIATION: Bloomberg
AWARD HONORED WORK: The Hedge Fund and the Despot
Six years after Robert Mugabe brutalized the opposition to win re-election in 2008 as president of Zimbabwe, Bloomberg reporters Cam Simpson and Jesse Westbrook set out to trace a $100 million cash infusion originating from a U.S. hedge fund that helped prop up his dictatorial, financially hard-pressed regime at a crucial moment. In this well-written, diligently researched page-turner, Simpson and Westbrook raised the veil on a series of financial transactions involving the Wall Street hedge fund, bankers and mining companies headquartered in London, shell companies and a rich platinum mining claim in Zimbabwe controlled by the government. Their account shows how global investments can end up in treacherous hands with terrible unintended consequences. Much of the reporting was done from afar after Simpson went to Zimbabwe with a valid visa, only to have government officials there threaten his arrest and force him to flee.