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US attorney removes himself from Madoff probe

Associated Press / December 18, 2008
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WASHINGTON - The fraud investigation of Wall Street money manager Bernard L. Madoff took unusual twists yesterday as the US attorney general removed himself from the probe and the Securities and Exchange Commission looked into the relationship between Madoff's niece and a former SEC attorney who reviewed Madoff's business.

The developments reflect growing criticism that Wall Street and regulators in Washington have grown too close. Madoff himself has boasted of his ties to the SEC.

In New York, Madoff showed up at the US courthouse to sign some papers in his case. Free on $10 million bail, Madoff is under curfew and wears an ankle bracelet to monitor his movements.

US Attorney General Michael Mukasey recused himself from the Madoff probe because his son, Marc Mukasey, is representing Frank DiPascali, a top financial officer at Madoff's investment firm. The Justice Department confirmed yesterday he was removing himself from all aspects of the case.

The turmoil at the SEC came as the investigation into the scandal widened.

Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin's office said he subpoenaed Madoff's brother, Peter Madoff, who is the chief compliance officer of Madoff's company, and Marcia Beth Cohn, chief compliance officer of Cohmad Securities Corp., which is in the same building in New York. Galvin is trying to determine the relationship between Madoff's firm and Cohmad Securities, and the names and numbers of all Massachusetts investors with both firms.

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