From Gineipaedia, the Legend of Galactic Heroes wiki
He was born the son of a lower middle-class merchant and lost his inheritance on speculation. He managed to persuade a friend of his to help him purchase a small ore transport vessel, but fell afoul of a magnetic storm. As a result, both he and his friend O'Higgins were driven to bankruptcy. He had taken out an insurance policy on his life and named his friend the beneficiary with the intent of ending his life and repaying O'Higgins. He was in the midst of nursing his last drink at Dracul when he overheard that an uprising was going to take place in the Galactic Empire.
After investigating what he had overheard, he was able to obtain a number of loans, develop a short term monopoly on strategic supplies, and make an extensive profit. He gave O'Higgins half of the subsequent profits as repayment with interest. He then went on to purchase a fleet of twelve trading ships. He formed the Kauf Financial Group and became a three-time winner of the Sindbad Award. When he died in his mid-fifties, his wealth was left to his six sons who frittered away the wealth and the Kauf Financial Group folded afterwards. (Legend of Galactic Heroes Volume 3: Endurance)