Former Enron Corp. energy trader John Arnold is closing down his flagship Centaurus Energy Master Hedge Fund.

Centaurus will be returning capital to investors, according to a Reuters report that cited an unnamed investor who said the wind-down was described in a letter sent by Arnold to investors. A person who answered NGI's call at Centaurus said the firm was not making any comments or talking to reporters.

Houston-based Centaurus has been one of the most successful hedge funds in the industry, delivering a compound annual return of about 130% since it was founded by Arnold in 2002 after the collapse of Enron. In Wall Street circles Arnold, who is in his late 30s, has been known to some as the "king of natural gas."

According to Forbes, Arnold has a personal fortune of $3 billion as of March, putting him at No. 377 on the magazine's list of billionaires.

"In the past ten years, we have achieved more success than I could have hoped for or imagined. However, after 17 years as an energy trader, I feel that it's time to pursue other interests," Arnold wrote to investors in a letter obtained by NGI.

In 2011 Centaurus Energy Master Fund LP was fined $75,000 by the New York Mercantile Exchange for violating position limits in natural gas trading (see Daily GPI, Dec. 28, 2011). Arnold founded Centaurus with an $8 million employee bonus from Enron. Centaurus employees have included several big name energy traders such as ex-Enron executive Greg Whalley, as well as Bill Perkins, Mike Magg and Conrad Goerl, previously of MotherRock.

©Copyright 2012 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.