Page last updated at 21:21 GMT, Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Madoff investigation finds $950m

Bernard Madoff going to court last month
Mr Madoff is accused of devising Wall Street's largest fraud ever

Almost $950m (657m) has so far been recovered from the investment firm of alleged fraudster Bernard Madoff, its liquidator has confirmed.

This figure is less than 2% of the total $50bn Mr Madoff is accused of defrauding from his investors.

Liquidation trustee Irving Picard was speaking on Wednesday before a bankruptcy court in New York.

Mr Madoff was arrested on 11 December. He was released on bail while police investigations continue.

Ponzi scheme

Mr Madoff, 70, a former chairman of the Nasdaq stock market, is accused of running a Ponzi scheme - a system whereby early investors are paid off with the money of new clients.

Fraud investigator Harry Markopolos says his pleas to the SEC fell on deaf ears

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

The Manhattan offices of Bernard Madoff Investment remains a crime zone, and Mr Picard said the FBI had still to give him access to certain parts of the building.

Mr Picard's comments came as officials from the US financial watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), were discussing the Madoff case before a Congressional hearing.

SEC enforcement director Linda Thomsen said she could not comment in detail, due to the continuing investigations.

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