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'Biggest hedge fund earner' Paulson nets $3.7bn

The single biggest hedge fund earner for 2007 has been revealed: billionaire John Paulson of Paulson Credit Opportunities Fund.

According to a report in Alpha magazine, the top five hedge fund managers all took home over $1.5 billion apiece last year - with Mr Paulson netting around $3.7 billion.

Just behind was George Soros - with James Simons at Renaissance Technologies, Philip Falcone at Harbinger Capital and Kenneth Griffin at Citadel rounding out the top five.

The massive wealth earned by Mr Paulson was spread among investors in his fund, who garnered net returns of 590 per cent for 2007.

Paulson Credit Opportunities successfully called the record number of sub-prime defaults prior to the sector's meltdown last summer - a major factor in its strong year-end results.

Overall, the performance of the hedge fund sector last year "may well prove to be the greatest display of individual wealth creation in any year in the modern history of finance," Alpha said.