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A lot of folks are buzzing about 17-year-old Stuyvesant High School senior Mohammed “Mo” Islam, who is rumored to have made $72 million from trading.
New York Magazine’s Jessica Pressler profiled him in a recent issue.
But some people who know Islam told Business Insider that they strongly believe that the $72 million figure is just a rumor — a rumor that Islam hasn’t denied.
In the article, he acknowledged to Pressler over caviar and apple juice that his net worth was in the “high eight figures.”
A source familiar with the story told Business Insider that Islam is not worth $72 million. The source believes it’s a rumor started by Islam’s friends or partners that was perpetuated by the New York Magazine article.
Pressler has defended the story on Twitter. She claimed she saw a bank statement with the eight figures and is comfortable with what’s in the piece. She also noted the story appeared in New York Magazine’s “Reasons to Love New York” issue and pointed out the magazine “is not a financial publication.”
Business Insider actually featured Islam on our list of the top 20 “Teen Traders Trying To Take Over The Finance World” just over a year ago. He was nominated by his peers, who made no claims about his net worth.
In a phone interview on Monday, Islam’s partner Damir Tulemaganbetov, who was also in the New York Magazine article, noted the $72 million figure was described as a “rumor.”
“Let me put it this way … it’s stated as a rumor,” Tulemaganbetov told us when we asked him if he would deny the $72 million figure. He was with Islam in a car headed to CNBC’s studios in New Jersey.
“All the hype, [Islam] deserves it,” Tulemaganbetov said, adding that he is “pretty sure” Islam is a “a great trader” and a “genius.”
Business Insider asked for audited numbers or profit-and-loss statements to prove that Islam’s net worth is close to $72 million. Tulemaganbetov refused.
Islam himself did not respond to our email this morning requesting the numbers. He also would not get on the phone when Business Insider learned he was riding in the car to CNBC.
The investment club for young traders, of which Islam is a member, sent Business Insider this statement regarding the $72 million figure:
It has been brought to the attention of the Leaders Investment Club that Mohammed Islam has been rumored to have made $72,000,000 through making trades in the stock market. After performing due diligence and talking with Mohammed Islam himself, we have determined that these claims are false and simply been blown up by the media in the interests of sensationalism.
Islam’s partner Tulemaganbetov, however, would not be that clear in his conversation with Business Insider.
“We can’t just talk about the numbers. It’s not just about the money,” Tulemaganbetov said. “We’re on the verge of a lot of great things in our lives so we can’t just focus on providing you the statements. We’re on the verge of a lot of great things. We are going to talk to CNBC.”
Again, Business Insider pressed the issue of the P&L statements.
“All those statements … that’s good for you. We know what we’re doing. We’re managing this whole hype and everything. We are trying to work with it. We were never expecting it and never denied. You have no proof.”
Tulemaganbetov told us that Islam didn’t expect all the attention. He just expected a magazine article.
“The guy became famous all over the world in 24 hours,” he said. “He’s all over the world. The next thing we wake up and he’s famous. This guy is a celebrity all over the world right now.”
Tulemaganbetov told us that they were going to “make it clear on CNBC.”
We’ll be watching.
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