April 11, 2011

Bernie Madoff, now behind bars in an isolated North Carolina town, was feeling very chatty when he spoke to two reporters from the Financial Times.

Once again at pains to try to explain his devastating Ponzi scheme (I take responsibility but others were complicit, he basically says), Madoff delivers some unbelievably nonchalant comments.

Among Madoff's best:

From the FT

"I did it for all of them - so many important people from France and elsewhere," says Madoff. "That woman from L'Oreal, Christian Dior, so many - I even impressed myself. They came up to my office to meet me. They really wanted to deal with me."

About not actually doing any trading:

"In 2002 I had a contact with the SEC, who were concerned that I was front-running," he recalls, referring to the practice of using insider information to inform trades. "I started laughing to myself - I knew I wasn't because I wasn't doing the trades."

About whistleblower Harry Markopoulos:

"Markopolos was the biggest idiot in the world. He had a hedge fund that couldn't make money and his clients abandoned him [so he called the regulators]."

On his money management skills:

"I said at the very beginning when I met with the SEC and Picard that my hope is that everyone will receive their principal [which amounts to $20bn]. Back then, everyone laughed. But [Picard] has already recovered $10bn and he will cover $20bn easily. If he is successful, he may get $50bn. That means that there will be $30bn profits to go around, which would make me one of the greatest money managers in modern history."

About the English:

"Stephen Raven [who managed Bernie Madoff Investment Securities] operations in London] is a typical English person, a bit of an old woman. He was a lovely guy. He just wanted to be accepted into the right clubs. He never got over the fact that he didn't go to [the right] school."

About the Swiss:

"The Swiss thought this [that Madoff was using inside information to give him an edge]. They are the most suspicious of all. Slimy people."

The Swiss, slimy? Wait - according to the trustee Irving Picard, didn't the Swiss bank UBS allow for more than $1 billion to be funneled to Madoff? He must not have found the Swiss slimy back then.

And of course, slimy is a word so many would say much more aptly describes Madoff himself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melanie Rodier has worked as a print and broadcast journalist for over 10 years, covering business and finance, general news, and film trade news. Prior to joining Wall Street & Technology in ...