Saturday, March 14, 2009

US$823m life of luxury

Madoff and his wife lived a life of luxury and owned properties all over the world. -- PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK - COURT documents released Friday show that Bernard Madoff and his wife Ruth lived a life of high luxury, with exclusive homes, yachts and other assets worth US$823 million (S$1.37 billion).

The revelations came in documents filed with the US Court of Appeals due March 19 to hear Madoff's appeal to be granted bail. He was jailed on Thursday after pleading guilty to a multi-billion-dollar investment fraud.

The documents, filed by Madoff's lawyer, show the Wall Street con man and his wife had US$22 million worth of real estate at the end of 2008.

This included the seven million dollar Manhattan apartment where Madoff lived between his arrest in December and Thursday's court hearing, when he pleaded guilty to 11 counts, including fraud, perjury, money laundering and theft.

Lawyers for Madoff, 70, argue he should be allowed back there on bail while he waits for a June 16 sentencing hearing. He is expected to receive to a lengthy prison sentence, with a maximum term of 150 years.

In addition to the apartment, the Madoffs had a US$1 million house in exclusive Cap d'Antibe in the south of France, another in New York state, and US$11 million house in Palm Beach, Florida.

Aside from the real estate, the disclosure lists nearly US$10 million worth of furniture and art, and a seven million dollar yacht named 'Bull' in France, complete with its own US$1.5 million slip.

Long known for lavish tastes, the Madoffs are revealed to have owned US$2.6 million in jewelry, a US$39,000 Steinway piano and US$65,000 worth of silverware in their New York apartment alone.

Madoff's documents show a US$700 million dollar value on his now disgraced investment business.

Madoff claimed in court on Thursday that although his personal investment advisory business was crooked, the trading branch of his firm was legitimate.

Most of the real estate and many other assets are said to be owned exclusively by Ruth Madoff.

Lawyers have sought to separate her from Madoff's interests as his thousands of victims and prosecutors ramp up efforts to recuperate the money he stole over at least two decades. -- AFP

No comments: