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Recovery of Madoff firm's assets hits $1b

$75m found in Gibraltar

Bloomberg News / March 24, 2009
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NEW YORK - The assets of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC that investigators have tracked to Gibraltar are worth about $75 million, raising to $1 billion the amount a trustee has recovered for investors, a lawyer said.

David Sheehan, a lawyer for Irving Picard, who was appointed by the Securities Investor Protection Corp. to unwind Madoff's businesses, also said yesterday that French authorities may soon seek to seize Madoff's French chateau, valued at $1.6 million.

Sheehan's disclosure came at a court hearing where he urged a judge to award SIPC, which is conducting a broad investigation of the assets of Madoff Securities, a power of attorney over Madoff's UK unit. SIPC is a government-backed corporation to cover losses when brokerages fail. US prosecutors investigating Madoff urged US District Judge Louis Stanton in New York to hold the power in escrow and not to grant it to Picard. Stanton didn't rule.

"These things happen almost daily," Sheehan said, telling Stanton about the Gibraltar discovery and the possible action by French authorities. "We are seeking to recover assets."

In urging Stanton not to award the power of attorney over Madoff Securities International Ltd. to Picard, Assistant US Attorney Barbara Ward said US prosecutors have been in touch with their counterparts in the United Kingdom, including the Serious Frauds Office and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

Ward didn't say why prosecutors have reached out to the latter agency. A spokeswoman for Acting US Attorney Lev Dassin in New York declined to comment. The office focuses on organized crime and on tracing proceeds of crimes, according to its website.

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