- Warren Buffett is facing scrutiny after ProPublica reported on his personal stock trades.
- Charlie Munger rejects the idea that Warren Buffett will be richer than his shareholders.
- His business partner said that Buffett cared more about Berkshire Hathaway than his own fortune.
Warren Buffett is in the rare and uncomfortable position of having his ethics questioned following ProPublica’s report on his personal stock trades, but Charlie Munger gave an impassioned defense of his business partner to CNBC this week.
“I don’t think there’s even the slightest possibility that Warren Buffett is doing something that bad to make money for himself,” said the 99-year-old vice chairman of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway group.
“He’s more worried about what’s going to happen to Berkshire than he’s worried about what’s going to happen to his own money,” Munger added, pointing to Buffett donating almost all of his wealth to good causes. Pointing to the promise of.
Since 2006, the investor has gifted more than half of his Berkshire stock – which amounts to more than 99% of his net worth – to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four of his family’s foundations.
The idea that Buffett enriched himself at the expense of his shareholders is “not a plausible argument,” Munger said. “This is another ridiculous thing that’s been said about Berkshire.”
CNBC’s Becky Quick, who interviewed Munger, reported that she had not read ProPublica’s story.
ProPublica raised questions about Buffett’s personal portfolio, citing leaked IRS tax returns from 2000 to 2019. It accused him of selling a combined $80 million worth of shares in Wells Fargo, Walmart and Johnson & Johnson at about the same time Berkshire was buying or selling those three stocks.
The investigative-journalism nonprofit said the trade appeared to break rules that Buffett himself imposed at Berkshire. Employees with inside knowledge of what the company is trading – or planning to trade – are barred from buying or selling those securities.
ProPublica also reported that Buffett has publicly stated that he avoids holding securities in his personal portfolio that are owned or controlled by Berkshire in order to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.
The outlet said Buffett personally sold about $500 million worth of shares over a roughly 20-year period, and disposed of bonds worth even more.