Disgraced Wall Street financier Bernie Madoff has died in prison at age 82.
Bernie Madoff admitted to one of the biggest frauds in US financial history.
His death was announced by the Bureau of Prisons.
Bernie Madoff had been serving a 150-year sentence after he pleaded guilty in 2009 to running a Ponzi scheme, which paid investors with money from new clients rather than actual profits.
It collapsed during the 2008 financial crisis.
Bernie Madoff,the son of European immigrants who grew up in New York, set up his eponymous firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities in 1960.
The company became one of the largest market-makers – matching buyers and sellers of stocks – and Bernie Madoff served as chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange.
His company was investigated eight times by the Securities and Exchange Commission because it made exceptional returns.
But it was the global recession which effectively prompted Bernie Madoff’s demise as investors, hit by the downturn, tried to withdraw about $7 billion from his funds and he could not find the money to cover it.
He confessed the problem to his sons, who went to the authorities.
The list of those scammed included actor Kevin Bacon, Hall of Fame baseball player Sandy Koufax and film director Steven Spielberg’s charitable foundation, Wunderkinder.
UK banks were also among those who lost money, with HSBC Holdings saying it had exposure of around $1 billion. Other corporate victims were Royal Bank of Scotland and Man Group and Japan’s Nomura Holdings.
But it was not just the elite and large firms who were victims of the fraud.
School teachers, farmers, mechanics and many others also lost money.
“We thought he was God. We trusted everything in his hands,” Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, whose foundation lost $15.2 million, said in 2009.
In court, Bernie Madoff said that when he started the scheme in the 1990s, he hoped it would only be for a limited time.
The scam involved an estimated $65 billion, a figure that included gains Bernie Madoff’s clients believed they had made due to fake account statements.
Of the more than $17 billion in cash losses, more than $14 billion has been recovered.
In 2020, Bernie Madoff requested early release from prison citing health problems, including kidney disease. In an interview with The Washington Post he said he had “made a terrible mistake.”
“I’m terminally ill,” he said.
“There’s no cure for my type of disease. So, you know, I’ve served. I’ve served 11 years already, and, quite frankly, I’ve suffered through it.”
Judge Denny Chin denied Bernie Madoff’s request, noting many victims were still suffering due to their financial losses.
“I also believe that Mr. Madoff was never truly remorseful, and that he was only sorry that his life as he knew it was collapsing around him,” the judge wrote.
At least two investors with Bernie Madoff committed suicide after their losses. His son Mark also killed himself on the second anniversary of his father’s arrest. His other son, Andrew, died of cancer in 2014.
Bernie Madoff is survived by his wife, Ruth Madoff, who maintained she was unaware of the scheme and was never charged. Prosecutors let her keep $2.5 milllion from the $825 million fortune the couple once possessed.
Yahoo shares jumped 10% after shareholders approved sale of its core internet business to Verizon amid a muted day on Wall Street.
After the deal closed, a renamed Yahoo will mainly hold a stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which had a blockbuster day on Wall Street.
Yahoo’s gains helped lift the NASDAQ 0.4% to 6,321.76 points.
The Dow Jones was almost flat at 21,182.53 points, while the broader S&P 500 fell very slightly to 2,433.79.
Verizon investors appeared more skeptical of the $4.5 billion deal, which was delayed after Yahoo disclosed data breaches, falling 0.7%.
According to reports, Verizon expects to cut about 2,000 jobs after its purchase of Yahoo’s internet business goes through next week.
Consumer-focused companies also closed down despite a 10% bounce for Nordstrom, which said it was considering going private.
However, financial stocks outperformed, as Republicans pressed ahead with a bid to roll back financial rules imposed after the 2008 crisis.
Although the measures are unlikely to become law, the bill’s success in the House signals commitment to some type of reform.
Ocwen Financial rose 2.7% after the loan servicer came under pressure from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which would be seriously weakened under June 8 measure.
Goldman Sachs closed up 1.4%, JP Morgan Chase added 1.25% and Bank of America climbed 1.6%.
The markets generally were overshadowed by political news, as UK voters headed to the polls and former FBI Director James Comey answered questions in Washington about his dealings with President Donald Trump.
President Trump fired Director James Comey earlier this year amid an FBI investigation into Russian ties to the Trump campaign. The move has generated political backlash and hurt Donald Trump’s standing in Washington.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has passed the 20,000 milestone for the first time on January 25.
The S&P 500 and tech-heavy NASDAQ were also at new highs, fuelled by hopes that President Donald Trump’s policies will boost the economy.
The Dow was up 0.8% at 20,074 points in afternoon trading.
Investors’ cash has poured into shares on hopes of tax cuts and higher growth.
Image source AP
Donald Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway was quick to comment on the news, tweeting that the landmark was down to “The Trump Effect”.
If the index stays above 20,000 by the time the day’s trading ends, then it would mean the 42-session rise from the first close above the 19,000 mark would be the second quickest 1,000 point rise of all time.
The Dow rose from 10,000 to 11,000 in only 24 trading days between March 29 and May 3, 1999, while the rise from 18,000 to 19,000 took 483 trading days (nearly two years).
Financial stocks have been a major factor in the gain – with Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan accounting for around 20% of it.
This is because investors believe that some of Donald Trump’s policies will trigger inflation and produce a rise in interest rates.
China stock market returns to positive territory after massive losses there earlier in the week rocked markets around the globe.
The Shanghai Composite was up by 0.6% to 2,942.94 points.
The turnaround though does little to make up double-digit percentage losses made so far this week.
Shares elsewhere in Asia also made gains in early trade on the back of a jump on Wall Street on August 26, which saw its biggest rise in 4 years.
In other Asian markets on August 27, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up by 2.5% at 21,613.48 points; the region’s biggest stock market, Japan’s Nikkei 225, finished trading 1.1% up at 18,574.44, building on strong gains made the previous session; South Korea’s Kospi also notched up gains for a second day. The index closed 0.7% higher at 1,908.0 points.
In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 wrapped up the day 1.2% higher at 5,238.70 points.
Severe losses on the Chinese market over the past week had sent shockwaves around the globe.
A move by the country’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, to cut its key lending rate on August 25 initially failed to calm the Chinese market.
Concerns about China’s slowing economic growth have been rising for months with a constant trickle of poor economic data, the latest of which last Friday suggested that factory activity shrank in August at its fastest pace in more than 6 years.
Analysts believe the tentative share market rebound indicates fears over China’s woes may have somewhat eased.
The US stock market closed higher with investors relieved that the midterm elections produced a clear result.
The Dow Jones and S&P 500 hit fresh records.
Sentiment was also boosted by an upbeat jobs survey, raising hopes that the official payroll figures on Friday will be strong.
The Dow Jones closed after adding 100.69 points at 17,484.53.
The broad-based S&P 500 rose 11.47 points to 2,023.57 while the NASDAQ lost early gains and fell 2.91 points to 4,620.72.
The US stock market closed higher with investors relieved that the midterm elections produced a clear result (photo Reuters)
Energy shares rose on hopes that the Republican majority in the Senate could lead to new energy-friendly legislation.
The midterm vote also boosted the dollar, which jumped to a seven-year high against the yen of 114.65 yen.
Meanwhile, investors were impressed by a report from payroll processor ADP which said that private firms in the US added 230,000 jobs in October. This was ahead of forecasts and the largest increase since June.
Among individual firms, shares in TripAdvisor dived 14% after the travel review website’s third quarter results fell short of expectations.
Net income for the quarter fell to $54 million from $56 million a year earlier, following a big increase in marketing costs.
Time Warner shares rose 4% after its third quarter profit and revenue beat expectations. It posted net income of $967 million with revenue up 3.3% to $6.24 billion.
Asian markets opened lower on October 16 after Wall Street tumbled on US economic data, fuelling growth concerns.
Data from the US showed retail sales and producer prices both fell in September, dimming expectations of an interest rate hike by the central bank.
The S&P 500 fell as much as 3%, briefly turning negative for the year before closing down 0.8%.
Japan’s shares fell more than 2% to a four-and-a-half-month low.
In early trading the Nikkei 225 was at 14,751.77. The dollar was at 105.92 yen, flat from New York trade.
Asian markets opened lower after Wall Street tumbled on US economic data
Among the losers were shares of Toyota, down over 2% after the automaker issued a recall of 1.75 million vehicles on Wednesday.
Hong Kong shares opened down almost 1% as the Hang Seng Index fell 226.55 points to 22,913.50.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.5% to 2,451.65 points after data showed that the rate of inflation in September fell, adding to evidence of a slowing economy.
In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 was lower 1% at 5,194.80 points.
Shares of Woodside Petroleum, Australia’s largest independent oil and gas producer, were lower 0.1% despite its third quarter production results beating forecasts.
In South Korea, shares followed the global downtrend.
The benchmark Kospi was down 0.7% after the Bank of Korea cut its interest rate for the second time in three months on October 15, and also downgraded its growth forecasts for the economy for this year.
Mary Jo White has been confirmed by the US Senate as the new head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the body that regulates Wall Street.
Former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White was nominated in January by President Barack Obama to replace SEC chairman Mary Schapiro after she stepped down.
Former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White was nominated in January by President Barack Obama to replace SEC chairman Mary Schapiro after she stepped down
Mary Jo White, 65, built a reputation as a tough crime-fighter serving as attorney for the Southern District of New York.
She spent almost 10 years as the Southern District attorney.
Mary Jo White assumes her new role at a critical time for Wall Street, with new rules and regulations being introduced following the financial crisis. But the Senate confirmation only allows for her to complete the remainder of Mary Schapiro’s 5-year term, which ends in June 2014.
There had been some concern about Mary Jo White’s time as a lawyer in private practice representing big corporations. However, she has pledged to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
Mary Jo White told the Senate Banking Committee last month that she would aggressively pursue enforcement and hold accountable “all wrongdoers, individual and institutional, of whatever position or size”.
Global stock markets have fallen after some members of the Federal Reserve suggested its stimulus measures may be increasing the “risks of future economic and financial imbalances”.
The comments came in minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting, where the Fed said it had left its monthly $85 billion bond-buying plan in place.
US markets opened lower on Thursday after recording their biggest drop so far this year on Wednesday.
European markets all closed down.
The Fed comments have raised expectations that the US central bank may scale back its bond-buying programme earlier than predicted.
Currently, the Fed is carrying out its plan of buying $85 billion of bonds a month until the US jobs market sees a substantial improvement.
By buying bonds, the Fed keeps interest rates low, which keeps the cost of borrowing for mortgages and other loans low.
However, the minutes of the Fed’s meeting in January showed that some members were concerned that the bond-buying programmes could push up inflation or could “foster market behavior that could undermine financial stability”.
The minutes said that “a number of participants” commented that an ongoing review of the effectiveness of the bond programme “might well lead the committee to taper or end its purchases before it judged that a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market had occurred”.
Global stock markets have fallen after some members of the Federal Reserve suggested its stimulus measures may be increasing the risks of future economic and financial imbalances
The bond-buying programme has been cited as a major reason for the rise in share prices in recent weeks, so signs of a premature end have hit stocks.
“US liquidity concerns following the Fed minutes looks like the pin which will burst the recent bubble in equities,” said Mike McCudden, head of derivatives at Interactive Investor.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones index ended Wednesday down 108.13 points at 13,927.54, and continued to fall on Thursday, shedding a further 61 points by midday in New York.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 159.15 points, or 1.4%, to 11,309.13, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng index closed down 400.74 points, or 1.7%, at 22,906.67.
European markets all fell, with London’s FTSE 100 closing down 1.6% at 6,291.54 and the Cac 40 in Paris falling 2.3% to 3,624.80.
The dollar rose 0.5% against the euro on Thursday, with one euro buying $1.3206.
While the dollar had been boosted by the Fed minutes, the euro was also hit by the latest survey of the eurozone region which suggested the downturn in the region’s businesses had worsened.
The latest eurozone purchasing managers’ index (PMI), compiled by research firm Markit, fell to 47.3 this month, down from 48.6 in January. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.
The figure was the lowest reading for two months and appeared to dash hopes that the eurozone’s economy would show signs of revival.
It also indicated a growing divergence between Germany and France, with output rising in Germany but declining at an increasing pace in France.
Google shares fell again on Friday – just 24 hours after $24 billion was lost from the company’s value.
Another $5 billion was wiped from Google as the stock fell once again on the back of a dire set of financial results.
The crash in its share price – due to a shock fall in the amount paid by advertisers – sent ripples through Wall Street, hitting other firms in the same sector.
Shares in Apple, the only technology company larger than Google in market value, fell by around 2.8% during trading.
Facebook, which is another technology stock heavily dependent on advertising for its revenues, saw its shares fall by 0.5% during trading.
The Dow Jones index of trading on Wall Street dipped more than 200 points.
Google’s humiliation began when its figures for the last three months were released prematurely on Thursday afternoon.
It revealed that profits had fallen by a fifth in the last three months – sending shares plunging, closing at $695.
Last night it was down a further 2.5% during trading to around $677.
Google blamed its printers for releasing the results by accident. Speculation was mounting on Friday night that Google could make a legal claim against R.R. Donnelley, the company it pays to put out its financial results.
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