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European banks severely affected by the Madoff scandal

The collapse of the investment fund of ex-Nasdaq boss Bernard L. Madoff harbors dramatic risks for a number of major banks in Europe. The French BNP Paribas put the possible damage at 350 million euros. The Belgian-French institute Natixis, which was already badly hit by the financial crisis, fears losses of up to 450 million euros. The customers of the Spanish group Santander invested a total of 2.33 billion euros with Madoff. Money that may be completely burned.

Risk estimate in the nine-digit range

The British Royal Bank of Scotland is also affected

Natixis said on Monday (December 15, 2008) that no direct investments were made in Madoff's hedge funds. However, 450 million euros were indirectly invested by clients with Madoff Investment Securities via funds. The damage depends on "the extent to which the plants can be recovered". The same scenario applies to BNP Paribas, it said in a brief statement on Sunday.

The US authorities have meanwhile ordered the liquidation of Madoff's investment advisory firm. A district court in New York has approved the liquidation and hired a trustee, the investor protection organization SIPC announced on Monday.

Switzerland and Scotland

The Swiss Reichmuth & Co also announced a risk of 350 million euros. They seriously regret being affected by the alleged fraud, the bank informed its customers, without first giving any further details.

The Royal Bank of Scotland, 58 percent British state-owned, put the risk at 400 million pounds (446 million euros). Banks in the Far East are also threatened with being drawn into the vortex. The largest Japanese stock exchange institute Nomura Holdings invested 27.5 billion yen (227 million euros) in Madoff.

"One Big Lie"

Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC is based in Manhattan

Madoff is the founder of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. He was instrumental in setting up the Nasdaq technology exchange. At times he was their chairman of the board of directors. Madoff was arrested on Thursday and the accounts of his funds were frozen on suspicion of massive fraud.

According to the investigators, Madoff had admitted that the deal was "one big lie". In fact, he has been insolvent for years. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to five million dollars.

The investigators in New York fear losses totaling 50 billion dollars. In addition to banks, dozens of charities and private individuals had invested their money with the 70-year-old, who is considered serious. The case caught regulators completely unprepared. Madoff's own family made the case public. (cheese)