Willem Buiter, the highbrow, heavy weight, 63 year old, married, contrarian chief economist at Citigroup, has fallen foul of an obsessive alleged ex-lover who has sent him a string of ‘hyper-sexual’ emails.
Builter allegedly had an affair with Helen Mees, another economist and former NYU professor. Mees is fluent in five languages (including Mandarin and French) and once founded a female empowerment organisation ‘Women on Top.’ Buiter is best known for inventing the term ‘Grexit’ and forecasting sovereign debt problems for the eurozone – a stance he’s softened in recent months.
Following the dissolution of their alleged relationship, Mees sent Buiter around 1,000 emails which were alternately deranged, demented and nymphomaniacal in nature. In one she suggested performing a lewd act, in another she photographed herself performing a lewd act and in another email she sent Buiter a strange snapshot of three dead birds.
Buiter, who runs his own website bizarrely detailing his home address and personal email details, has had Mees arrested for harassment and stalking. Mees says the emails go in both directions.
If Buiter did have the affair, he certainly wouldn’t be the first senior banker to do so. There have long been signs that extra-marital passions are prolific in the financial services industry. Edson Mitchell, the deceased 47 year old head of global markets at Deutsche Bank, took up with Estelle, a French woman in her 30s when he moved to London and his family stayed behind in New York. In 2004, Joyti De Laurey, a secretary who stole millions from her bosses at Goldman Sachs said it was common for all senior Goldman staff to have affairs. In the course of De Laurey’s trial it also emerged that her boss, 49 year old Scott Mead, who was married with five children, had attempted to install his mistress and his mistresses children in a nearby hotel when he went on holiday with his family.
However, while Mitchell was described ‘wiry and athletic, competitive and impatient’ and Mead was a celebrated telecoms banker, tennis player and runner, the passions surrounding Buiter are a little more unexpected. Highly intellectual, his enthusiasms have hitherto seemed to be directed mostly towards the future of the eurozone, although he does confess a concomitant interest in fantasy novels and poetry.
Mees’ email stalking of Buiter fits the profile of so-called ‘public figure stalking’. Studies suggest that stalking becomes more likely when the stalker has a, ‘delusional belief in romantic destiny, a desire to reclaim a prior relationship, a sadistic urge to torment the victim, or a psychotic over-identification with the victim and the desire to replace him or her.’ James Lasdun, a writer and creative writing teacher recently wrote a memoir about being stalked by an obsessive ex-pupil. Mees reportedly dedicated her PhD thesis to Buiter, whom she met in 2008.
The moral of the story? Senior bankers and academics should avoid obsessive juniors who think they’re wonderful. Juniors may want to watch out too: the obsession can run both ways. In 2011, David Gray, a 28 year old married associate at JP Morgan became obsessed 25 year old Daniela Rausnitz, who was interning in the adjoining cubicle. Rausnitz took Gray to court to get him to back off. Gray has subsequently pulled his profile from LinkedIn and JPMorgan has no record of him on its database.