HEDGING A BET
FUND DIRECTOR’S PLEA FOR COKE-DEALING BOYFRIEND
A HIGH-FLYING hedge fund director who formerly worked for Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart has penned a heartfelt letter to a judge in support of her drug-dealing boyfriend.
Adriana Kostov, who oversaw risk management for Ms Rinehart’s multibillion-dollar Roy Hill iron ore project in WA, smiled and waved at Christian Eugene Iral, 44, as he was jailed for three years and nine months for selling cocaine in 2016. She described Iral as “a sensitive, gentle soul” who was aware he’d hurt the people who cared about him.
“I can honestly say to you that I believe this experience has been ‘the last straw’ for Christian and he is aware now that he needs to change the path he has been on, if he is ever to experience a happy and healthy future,” Ms Kostov said in her letter.
Iral pleaded guilty in the Downing Centre District Court to supplying undercover police with 17 grams of cocaine in a series of meetings in Double Bay, including at the Golden Sheaf Hotel.
The court heard Iral, who was born in Colombia, moved with his family to Australia in 1972 before his parents took the family to New York when he was four.
It was there in the rough neighbourhood of Queens that he got a taste for drugs and in 1997 was deported back to Australia where he fell into a life of drugs, gambling and petty crime.
The court heard Ms Kostov, 35, and Iral, who met at a nightclub, had an “on and off relationship” because of her travel back and forth from her Perth home.
Ms Kostov was the first Australian regional director of the New York-based Hedge Fund Association representing nearly 10,000 hedge funds across the world with a combined total of more than $2 trillion in assets. She quit in February 2016 and is now a lawyer. In her letter, she said she believed Iral had turned a corner.
“I have encouraged him to speak more openly about such feelings (loneliness and depression) and further upon his release to set up a plan to re-engage with his family again and more often,” she wrote.
“The last 20 months have been difficult for me also as seeing someone in prison is not pleasant, however, I do hope this experience for him will lead to much more positive future.”
Iral, who gave evidence during his sentencing, said since his arrest the couple had become very close.
“She is a person who doesn’t do drugs, she is very educated person so that has a very positive influence on me,’’ he said.
“She is willing to help me find work through her contacts and she is a very positive person to be with.”
When asked by Judge Arnott if his relationship with Ms Kostov had “flourished while you have been in prison” Iral agreed it had.
Adriana Kostov leaves court and (bottom right) as the regional director of the Hedge Fund Association. Gina Rinehart (inset). Main picture: Jonathan Ng