Financial circles are buzzing about the jailhouse interview that the New York Times just scored with ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff.
The big reveal in the wide-ranging talk is Madoff’s claim that the banks and hedge funds that he did business with “had to know” that he was perpetrating a giant fraud, but did nothing to stop it … and some cases profited from it:
“They had to know,” Mr. Madoff said. “But the attitude was sort of, ‘If you’re doing something wrong, we don’t want to know.’ “
However, Madoff did not name any names, and when specifically asked about his friend Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz — the owners of the New York Mets who are being sued for profiting off Madoff’s investments — Madoff says “they knew nothing.”
Pretty nice of Bernie to stick up for his pals, even if it seems unlikely to some observers that two smart, successful businessmen reaping unheard of returns would not have suspected a problem that Madoff claims was totally obvious to others.
That’s the crux of the charge being leveled against the Wilpon and Katz, but they just got the best witness testimony they could ask for.
The Times story also seems to indicate that Madoff is helping Irving H. Picard (the trustee in charge of recovering funds for Madoff victims) from jail, but has not given him any evidence that could implicate the Wilpon family.
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