|Bernard Lawrence Madoff (born on April 29, 1938, Manhattan, New York, USA) is an American businessman, former chairman of the Board of Directors of the NASDAQ stock exchange. In 1960 he founded the Wall Street firm “Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC” and also headed it until his arrest on December 11, 2008 when he was accused of creating a financial pyramid, probably the largest in the history. He is under house arrest prior to the accusation of his charges (last date - February 11, 2009).
The financial pyramid was manipulated by Bernard Madoff. According to the preliminary estimations of experts, it could be one of the largest financial frauds in history. The victims of this financial fraud are from one to three million people and several hundreds of financial organizations amounting to about $50 billion
The firm of Madoff, which is to be liquidated, was one of the leading market-makers. The business of Madoff was diversified into four directions: independent trading and investment activity, broker and dealer services, regulation activity at the electronic stock exchange Nasdaq, i.e. market-making and trust management.
Madoff Investment Securities was considered to be one of the most reliable and profitable investment funds in the USA. It gave comparatively stable high profits to the investors – around 12-13 percent per annum. Many investors were convinced that the firm of Madoff operated successfully thanks to access to insider information. Numerous hedge-funds, banks, charitable organizations and also private people and mainly celebrities were amongst the clients of the firm. In 2008, 17 billion dollars were at the disposal of the firm. The inflow of new clients did not cause the apprehension of several experts, which indicated on the zero volatility of the firm of Madoff and the studies of the SEC and auditors did not reveal significant infringements in the company’s activities.
As stated, on December 10, 2008 Madoff informed his sons, Andrew and Mark, that his business is “one big lie” a Ponzi scheme. And, the foundation of Madoff brought around 10-13% profits annually and did not promise more. The sons passed on this information to authorities. The next day, the FBI arrested Madoff and all his accounts were frozen five days after his arrest. It appeared that Madoff Securities was not into investments of means, entrusted to it, at least for the last 13 years. Under the influence of the worsening global financial crisis in November-December 2008, several major investors met Madoff with a request to return the invested money or other property amounting to $7 billion, but Madoff had nothing to pay back and the Ponzi scheme collapsed. The company’s debts are somewhere near 50 billion USD. On the behalf of the investors, journalists and economists suspect that Madoff could have clinched a deal and insist on a search of accomplices. US authorities believe that the fund of Madoff did not do any transactions in the stock exchange for the entire period of its existence as it could not trace a single transaction in the database specified in the fund statements.
On March 12, 2009, Madoff testified for all the 11 charges, amongst which are: money-laundering, false evidence and fraud. According to the gravity of the crimes, he is under the threat of being imprisoned for 150 years and also has to pay millions of USD as restitution.
As a result of the collapse of the financial pyramid, major and small-scale banks, finance-investment companies, insurance and welfare funds in the USA, France, Spain, Italy, Holland and Switzerland have suffered. The main companies which suffered huge losses are:
* Hedge-fund “Fairfield Sentry Ltd” – 7.3 Billion USD;
* “Kingate Global Fund Ltd” – 2.8 Billion USD;
* “Tremont Holdings Inc’s Rye Investment Management” – around 3 Billion USD;
* Banking group “Banco Santander” (Spain) – 3.1 Billion USD;
* HSBC Bank - 1 Billion USD;
* “Royal Bank of Scotland” - 600 Million USD;
* Bank “BNP Paribas” (France) - 460 Million USD;
* Boston charitable foundation “Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation” – bankruptcy of Bank of South Korea - 63 Million USD.|