London Madoff staff meet to learn their fate

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The Independent Online

Staff at Madoff Securities International, the London arm of Bernie Madoff's collapsed US investment business, will meet tomorrow morning to discover their fate. The meeting will be the first since the $50bn scandal broke.

Stephen Raven, the chief executive of Madoff Securities, and his 25 employees will meet at their Berkeley Street offices with the liquidators from Grant Thornton, appointed on Friday, to learn whether they are being dismissed or asked to help with the investigation into the collapse.

A source close to Madoff said the London employees are still in shock, claiming they are as much victims of the Ponzi scandal as the investors around the world who have lost millions. "We feel as betrayed as everyone else," he said. "Even in the volatile markets, we were doing extremely well and making good profits. Hopefully, most of the dealers will find it easy to find jobs, as they are so good."

Mr Raven, who first heard about Mr Madoff's confession of fraud last Thursday from TV reports, applied for a court petition to put the London business into a separate liquidation from the US one, as he wanted the firm to be protected under English law. Lawyers from the Financial Services Authority went with Mr Raven to the court.

The Grant Thornton liquidators will now be working with Richards Kibbe & Orbe, the receiver appointed in the US, and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which has been in touch with Mr Raven.

The London business has assets of £100m, now frozen by the courts, and this may become subject to legal claims by investors in the US who lost out. As a member of the London Stock Exchange, it cleared trading through Barclays Capital and LCH. The London business was a proprietory trading firm that managed Mr Madoff's family investment. Each year, the money was rolled over and it is claimed than neither Mr Madoff nor any of his family made any withdrawals.

In the US, investigators are still at the early stages of interviewing Mr Madoff's two sons, Andrew and Mark, and his brother, Peter, who all held senior positions in the firm, Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities. To date, the federal investigators say they have found no evidence that any of his family knew about the scam or helped him to carry it out. Mr Madoff, 70, has insisted throughout his confession and subsequent interviews that he was the only one involved in what he calls "a big lie".

Celebrities ranging from film director Steven Spielberg to the owner of The New York Times, Mort Zuckerman, fell for his scam.