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Reliving the cruel pranks of Wall Street’s past

Just joking...

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from John LeFevre, the former banker behind the infamous @GSElevator Twitter handle who was unmasked last year. His upcoming book, “Straight to Hell,” is coming out next month, so LeFevre sat down with CNN Money to provide a bit of a preview. Needless to say, it will have bankers everywhere turning a certain shade of red.

The main themes involve all the negative stereotypes associated with Wall Street’s more recent past: “deal-making, prostitutes, cocaine, conspicuous consumption, sexism and general ridiculousness.” There are even a few tales about pranks that bankers played on each other.

LeFevre said that the best prank he personally was involved in was on an analyst who was told that he would be leading a client call for the first time ever. Over the course of three days and multiple calls, the analyst tried to placate an angry and abusive Chinese CEO “who vacillated between yelling at him for being stupid or asking random, deeply personal questions,” LeFevre said.

The saga finally ended with the CEO announcing that he was taking the business to a competitor, leaving the analyst thinking he just lost a deal that would have generated $4 million in fees for the bank. Of course, the “CEO” was one of LeFevre’s friends, the head of his own bank’s bond execution team.

Other pranks he mentioned witnessing include putting porn and gum in someone’s bag before a flight to Singapore, canceling a colleague’s hotel reservation and ordering two dozen pizzas to a competitor’s office. Considering Barclays just fired someone for penning a joke welcome email to interns, it’s likely that less of that type of activity is happening today.

One interesting thing to look out for is the reaction at Citi when the book drops. When everyone assumed a then-unknown LeFevre worked at Goldman Sachs when he was tweeting, the firm reportedly took action to try to find the rogue employee. After Andrew Ross Sorkin outed him as a former Citigroup bond executive who never actually worked at Goldman, causing him to lose his first book deal, the bank tweeted: “Guess elevators go up and down.”

Clearly, Goldman was overjoyed that LeFevre never worked there. Now it is Citi that will need to deal with the fallout from the book. It was the only big bank he ever worked for, so while the book won’t include any real names, the reader can easily guess where all the action took place.

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AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor

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