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Citadel billionaire Ken Griffin defends Melvin stake against ‘an insane conspiracy theory’

Ken Griffin speaking at the 2018 Delivering Alpha Conference in New York on July 18th, 2018.

David A. Grogan | CNBC

Ken Griffin, the billionaire CEO of hedge fund Citadel, defended his $2 billion investment in short seller Gabe Plotkin’s Melvin Capital last month amid the height of the GameStop mania.

“No, I think Gabe Plotkin is one of the finest investors of his generation,” Griffin on Friday told CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin during Squawk Box.

The comment was in response to a question from Sorkin about whether Griffin’s investment was a mistake because it created questions about Griffin’s motivations in propping up Plotkin amid his battle with retail Reddit traders who were pumping the shares of GameStop.

“If I had to run my business on the possibility of an insane conspiracy theory emerging at any point in time, I would have no business,” Griffin said.

Besides running hedge fund Citadel, Griffin is the founder of dominant market-maker Citadel Securities, which handles about 40% of U.S. retail stock order flow, including from brokerages like free-trading app Robinhood.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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