Convicted fraudster Bernard Madoff says a number of banks and hedge funds were complicit in and had to have known about his 48 billion euro Ponzi scheme.
In his first interview Madoff told the New York Times the banks and hedge funds who dealt with his investment advisory firm showed a “wilful blindness” and didn’t examine discrepancies between his filings with regulators and other information.
“They had to know,” Madoff said in the interview. “But the attitude was sort of, ‘If you’re doing something wrong, we don’t want to know.’”
Madoff, 72, is serving a 150-year prison sentence for the scam, which was uncovered in December 2008.
Irving Picard, a court-appointed trustee seeking money for Madoff victims, has filed lawsuits seeking tens of billions of dollars from companies and individuals he believes benefited from or aided in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
Among the defendants in these cases is JPMorgan Chase, long Madoff’s principal banker and described by Picard as “thoroughly complicit” in the Ponzi scheme.
Other defendants include HSBC Holdings, UBS and various “feeder funds” that steered money to Madoff.
JPMorgan’s lawyers have said the bank “did not know about or in any way participate in the fraud.”
Madoff also said he had not shared his information with federal prosecutors working on criminal cases related to the fraud.
Eight people have been criminally charged. Madoff, his right hand man Frank DiPascali, and an outside accountant have pleaded guilty. Five, all of whom used to work for Madoff, have pleaded not guilty.
Madoff also told the Times he never thought the collapse of his Ponzi scheme would cause the kind of fallout that has befallen his family.
Picard has filed lawsuits against Madoff’s wife, Ruth, that could bankrupt her, and Madoff’s son Mark committed suicide last December – two years after the Ponzi scheme was uncovered.