Page last updated at 16:30 GMT, Friday, 9 January 2009

Madoff affair 'needs Scots probe'

Bernard madoff
Bernard Madoff has been accused of running a major fraud scheme

There have been calls for a probe into the Scottish business dealings of suspected fraudster Bernard Madoff.

The Serious Fraud Office, which serves England and Wales, has already launched an investigation, but The Tories said it should extend to Scotland.

The party said the authorities north of the Border lacked the capacity to conduct their own probe.

Wall Street businessman Mr Madoff is accused of running a fraudulent 33bn scheme, which may see major UK losses.

Although the Serious Fraud Office is looking into the case, police and prosecutors in Scotland said there was no similar inquiry.

The Serious Fraud Office will liaise with the Crown Office and Scottish law enforcement to advise if their investigation brings to light any evidence of criminality which provides a basis for a Scottish investigation
Crown Office spokesman
The Scottish Conservatives said that was because the Scottish authorities lacked proper fraud fighting capabilities.

The party's justice spokesman, Bill Aitken, said: "It may well be we have to ask for the Serious Fraud Office to investigate for us, even though Scotland is technically outwith its remit."

US prosecutors say Mr Madoff, a former head of the Nasdaq stock market, masterminded a fraud of massive proportions through his hedge fund and investment advisory business.

He is alleged to have used money from new investors to pay off existing investors in the fund.

One of the victims was said to be the Royal Bank of Scotland, which could lose about 400m if all its investments have to be written off.

A spokesman for the Crown Office said: "We can confirm that at present there is no investigation into this matter in Scotland.

"The Serious Fraud Office will liaise with the Crown Office and Scottish law enforcement to advise if their investigation brings to light any evidence of criminality which provides a basis for a Scottish investigation."

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