Hedge fund manager John Paulson personally made more than $5 billion in profit in 2010, which may likely be the largest one-year earnings in investment history, the Wall Street Journal said.

Paulson's latest profit has trumped the nearly $4 billion he made with his short bets against subprime mortgages in 2007, the Journal said.

Some of the profits are paper gains, which reflect the rising value of their firms' holdings, and could erode if those investments turn sour, according to the paper.

Other gains were made from selling investments and most of those are rolled back into their funds, the paper said.

A call by Reuters to the offices of Paulson & Co outside regular U.S. business hours was not immediately answered.

Ever since Paulson's funds earned $15 billion on his bet against the housing market in 2007, investors have treated him as a bellwether for the hedge fund industry.

Known for making big, contrarian calls, Paulson said early in 2010 that he expected to see strong economic recovery and a rebound in housing prices. He also made a big bet on gold.

Paulson Advantage Plus Fund ended last year up 17 percent after rising 13 percent in December. His Gold fund gained 35 percent for the year, Reuters had reported on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Anshuman Daga)