It’s a beautiful sunny day here in Cheshire. The sun is shining. I’m working on running repairs on the caravan that took a big hit from my farmer friends’ tractor. Going through a catch up on the emails that have stacked up over the last 4 weeks there’s a common thread. Investors/traders/journalists are keen to know why I changed my name many, many years ago from David J Hopkins to Daniel Levi.
Let’s stir it up and cause an almighty furor and some mayhem. Why? Because it will at some point be unavoidable. I enjoy controversy. Great for the stats especially with The Times newspaper just about to write up my past I may as well put out a spoiler. The history of David J Hopkins seems like another world to me. To all intents and purposes he was another person in a different world: a dark and dangerous world.
Over 2 decades ago, through my youth and into my early twenties/thirties, I was a hardened career criminal, an armed bank robber and to all intents and purposes deemed an enemy of the state under constant surveillance.
I have served 16 years in maximum security prisons, a lot of it as a category A prisoner, being escorted by 3 officers and a dog handler on a daily basis. From HMP Frankland, Durham, to HMP Parkhurst, on the Isle of Wight. There isn’t a maximum security prison or a solitary confinement wing that I have not been incarcerated in.
I have at various times during my long stay at Her Majesty’s prisons met terrorists, drug bosses, hitmen, murderers, thieves, robbers, serial killers and spys. Some of these men went on to become journalists, photographers,
In 1985/86 I was convicted at the ‘Old Bailey‘ (parlance for crown court) of armed bank robbery. I was also arrested in an armed siege where 38 firearms including sub-machine guns, pump action shotguns, assault rifles, hand guns et al with thousands of rounds of ammunition were recovered. I was viewed by Special Branch, in particular, as a dangerous, violent, criminal involved in organized crime. Looking back I cannot disagree with their opinion. I was a very naughty boy.
I have been shot at, stabbed and kidnapped. I have been lucky to survive. Then again I’ve always been ‘lucky’. Thankfully it was all a long time ago.
My serious convictions are two decades old. I was in my teens/twenties when I committed major crimes, I am now 50.
In 1995 after having a major blood battle with a notorious Manchester crime boss, my life changed. While in solitary, I had a moment of self-realization, you might call it an epiphany. What the police, courts and authorities considered me to be, was true. I was a hardened criminal involved in organised crime. I would also have probably ended up murdered by fellow criminals or murdering fellow criminals.
I began to examine my life in minuate. That kid that your mothers told you to stay away from was me! If there was such a place as hell, I was headed there.
I set out to change my destiny and I have been on this road to redemption for nearly twenty years. It hasn’t been easy but I’ve done OK. I have been involved with the media for a very long time. I changed my name when the bullets started flying through my windows. The evolution to corporate revolution was complete.
Why am I publishing this? I do as I please. I fear no one. And no one should fear me.
Life dealt me certain cards and I played them. Initially I played them badly. Later on I managed to do better and have left my past behind. Now as I have reached a certain level of success this past is bound to become public. As such, the time is right for me to bring it out into the open so those around have disclosure. There are trusted people in London and the media who are and were aware of my past.
Would I change anything? Maybe, but you can’t replay your life. I paid for my bad youthful choices and I have moved on long ago to tread a better path. Having been through the ‘belly of the beast’ I believe I am a better person for it. It has given me insight into the dark side of humanity and helps inform me in the activist investing I do today. I can spot a liar or a corporate crook from 100 miles. It helps me navigate the murky world of broken small cap companies.
My past life will cause many concern, how could it be any other way. I understand. It doesn’t cause me any sleepless nights. Do I care? Not particularly. The 21 year old bank robber is not Dan Levi the 50 year old activist investor. Any one got any problems then put it in writing with your name and address. I’ll send the boys around…..