Madoff Speaks: ‘Funds and Bankers Knew’

In his first interview since his arrest in December 2008, Bernie Madoff maintained that family members knew nothing about his crimes.

But during a private two-hour interview , and in earlier e-mail exchanges, he asserted that banks and hedge funds were “complicit” in his elaborate fraud.

He spoke with great intensity and fluency about his dealings with various banks and hedge funds. In asserting the complicity of others, Madoff pointed to the “willful blindness” of many banks and hedge funds who dealt with his investment advisory business and their failure to examine discrepancies between his regulatory filings and other information available to them.

“They had to know,” Mr. Madoff said. “But the attitude was sort of, ‘If you’re doing something wrong, we don’t want to know.’”

Madoff said he was startled to learn about some of the e-mails and messages raising doubts about his results — now emerging in lawsuits — that bankers were passing around before his scheme collapsed.

“I’m reading more now about how suspicious they were than I ever realized at the time,” he said with a faint smile.

Madoff said repeatedly that he provided useful information to Irving Picard, the trustee trying to recover assets for the fraud victims.

Regarding his meetings with Picard’s legal team, Madoff asserted in an e-mail that he had given Picard “information I knew would be instrumental in recovering assets from those people complicit in the mess I put myself into.”

In a message ten days later, he was even more explicit: “I am saying that the banks and funds were complicit in one form or another and my information to Picard when he was here established this.”

In a related e-mail on Jan. 12, Madoff claimed some financial settlements made by banks and hedge funds were made “to keep me quiet” about the role the institutions played in “creating my situation” and about the identity of the beneficial owners of some of their private accounts.

Complete article via New York Times

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