The Madoff Scandal

1070 Words Nov 20th, 2015 5 Pages
The Madoff scandal
16 December 2008

The repercussions from the collapse of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, whose founder and owner was arrested last Thursday after admitting that his $17 billion investment advisory business was "a giant Ponzi scheme," continue to widen. According to a criminal complaint filed by the FBI and a civil action brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the elderly Madoff estimated that the losses from his fraud exceeded $50 billion. The tally of losses already reported by banks, hedge funds and wealthy investors climbed over the weekend to nearly $20 billion.

Banks and hedge funds around the world—in the US, Britain, Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland and Japan—are reporting
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Other investment firms steered their clients away from Madoff.

The SEC, which had investigated and cleared Madoff in 1992, refused to intervene. On the contrary, he was appointed to a committee of academics, regulators and executives formed in 2000 by former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt to advise the agency on new stock market rules in response to the growth of electronic trading.

The role of the SEC epitomizes the transformation of government regulatory agencies into the facilitators of financial fraud on a colossal scale. Its job has become running interference for the skullduggery of brokerage houses, hedge funds and banks.

The removal of any regulatory restraint on the operations of the banks and finance houses over the past three decades is itself an expression of the crisis and decay of American capitalism. The hallmark of this process is the growth of financial parasitism. It is the other side of the coin of the systematic dismantling of large sections of industry and the relentless attack on the jobs and wages of the working class. This assault, in tandem with the unfolding economic crisis, is entering a new and even more brutal stage.

The very fact that the Madoff scandal has had its impact on the most privileged social layers testifies to the depth of the underlying crisis that produced it. It has, moreover, shed light on the social physiognomy of those elite sections of the population that have benefited from the

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