“‘I don’t think there’s the slightest chance that Warren Buffett is doing something that is deeply evil to make money for himself.’”
That was Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway
pushing back against a ProPublica report that alleged his billionaire business partner Warren Buffett traded stocks in his personal investment account that Berkshire Hathaway was also buying and selling. Munger was interviewed by CNBC’s Becky Quick in a video that was published on Thursday.
Specifically, the Nov. 9 report, which cited documents said to have been leaked from the Internal Revenue Service, alleged that Buffett traded equities in his private account during the same quarter, or the quarter prior, as Berkshire Hathaway
traded those same stocks in 2009 and 2012. Stocks that Buffett and Berkshire both traded in during that time are said to have included Walmart, Wells Fargo and Johnson & Johnson.
“He cares more about what happens to Berkshire than he cares what happens to his own money,” Munger continued. “He gave all his own money away. He doesn’t even have it anymore.”
Munger, 99, is referencing Buffett’s public pledge to give away nearly 99% of his wealth to philanthropic endeavors during his lifetime or in the event he dies.
The 93-year-old Buffett has publicly confirmed that he has a personal investment account that is separate from Berkshire, which is required to disclose its holdings on a quarterly basis.
In the past, the “Oracle of Omaha” has publicly disavowed any inclination to trade in stocks that may be seen as a potential conflict of interest with Berkshire Hathaway. “I try to stay away from anything that could conflict with Berkshire,” Buffett said during the company’s annual meeting in 2016. “I can’t be buying what Berkshire is buying,” he’d said four years earlier.
Representatives for Berkshire Hathaway did not immediately respond to MarketWatch’s request for comment.
Buffett has a net worth of $120.1 billion, according to Forbes, the fifth largest personal fortune in the world. Only Larry Ellison, Jeff Bezos, Bernard Arnault and Elon Musk have a higher worth.
See also: Why Warren Buffett has done more to educate investors than any other corporate executive