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Con king

business Updated: Dec 17, 2008 16:24 IST
Agencies
Bernard Madoff

Wall Street grandee Bernard Madoff's 10-year run as a conman has finally come to an end. His list includes who's who

http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/images/Bernard Madoff2.jpg

of financial world and also a long list of celebrities. Madoff has been accused of $50bn fraud.

According to the reports Bernard Madoff was running what was essentially the world's largest pyramid scheme. Banks and financial institutions across the world had investments with Bernard Madoff but now with egg on their face and reputation at stake they are shying away from disclosing their involvement or their potential losses.

Even Hollywood director Steven Spielberg was among the victims, along with a foundation set up by Mort Zuckerman, one of the richest media and property magnates in the United States.

However, it was Wall Street once again that bore the brunt of Bernard Madoff's predatory con tactics. Even financial institutions from London and the headquarters of European banks were reporting in http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/images/Bernard-Madoff.jpghushed tones loses that may sound like chicken feed when compared to the Bank crisis in US but is staggering when seen from the perspective of an individual effort.

Mr Madoff confessed last week only that his business was "one great big lie". The investment returns were fake, and he had been paying old clients with money from new ones.

One of the managers of the New York Daily News was so much taken by Madoff that he invested $9bn in his bogus schemes and now is poorer by that amount.

Some of the biggest private losers seem to have been members of the Palm Beach country club, where many of Mr Madoff's wealthy clients were recruited.

Madoff founded Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities in 1960, but also ran a separate hedge fund business.http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/images/Bernard Madoff1.jpg

US prosecutors say that, if found guilty, Madoff could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5m.