Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Wednesday 17 December 2008

Madoff in Manhattan

Where is everybody? A week ago, the well-heeled of the US eastern seabord were queuing up to shake the hand of Bernie Madoff. They wined and dined his in-laws to secure an introduction, or stumped up thousands in golf and country club memberships in the hope of bumping into him in the clubhouse and being - oh joy! - invited to invest in his funds. He could pick and choose; only a select few were admitted to the amazing returns generated by BMIS.

And yet this sought-after man is now under house arrest in his Manhattan apartment, tagged like a common felon, because he cannot produce the four 'financially responsible' signatories needed for bail. His wife and brother have signed the bond, but he still needs two further signatures to guarantee $3m (remainder of $10m after Madoff put up the apartment). Of the numerous people once so keen to meet him, not one has come forward to put a name on the dotted line.

Admittedly, electronic tags aside, there are worse fates than being under house arrest in a $7m apartment, particularly given that if he goes out, even in the select enclaves of Manhattan's wealthy elite, his reception is likely to be on the frosty side. His 7pm curfew should give him ample time to reflect on his new status as social pariah.


  1. Mr Madoff certainly seems to ahve secured your interest, Polly.

  2. To a keen student of the classics, there is something irresistible in this modern-day fable of hubris and nemesis. Some of us have been saying for years that the bubbles had to start bursting one day.


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