Jim Chanos has been cast as the “Darth Vader of Wall Street”, the “Catastrophe Capitalist” and the “LeBron James of short-selling”. The 62-year-old titan of the $3.2-trillion global hedge fund industry predicted the downfall of US energy giant Enron almost two decades ago, making a fortune in the process. But the course of true riches, it seems, never did run smooth. On the day of our encounter, Tesla, which Chanos has bet against for the past five years, overtakes Toyota as the most valuable carmaker in the world, leaving him nursing heavy losses. But more about that later.

I am ensconced at Oswald’s, an elegant London members’ club for oenophiles. It’s the first time I’ve set foot in a restaurant in four months. But where more appropriate to interview the short-seller than an antique mirrored dining room in Mayfair, the heart of the European hedge fund industry? It’s three days before “Super Saturday”, when London’s restaurants and bars can reopen. I’ve been granted an excep...

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