Bernie Madoff Tells Gasparino He’s a Victim of Wall Street

During a six-week long interview process, convicted Ponzi scheme architect Bernie Madoff discussed his crime, insider trading on Wall Street, life in prison and his family relations with FOX Business Network’s Charlie Gasparino. Madoff states that insider trading “goes on at every major firm’s Prop Desk and at every level of the Industry in plain sight and is the easiest thing to spot with today’s order trails,” but singles out Steven Cohen’s SAC Capital as one of the “chief culprits” on Wall Street. In the series of interviews Madoff also claims that he’s in talks with Harvard Business School to create a course “around my experiences building my market making and Prop trading business and my role in NASDAQ and electronic trading,” a claim Harvard refutes saying “the entire matter is not true.” Excerpts from the interview can be found below, courtesy of Fox Business Network:

On Madoff’s claims he is helping Harvard Business School develop a course on business ethics: 
“At least in his mind, he’s getting ready to help the prestigious Harvard Business School develop course work for its students from his jail cell at Butner. Madoff said that Harvard is interested in his input to develop a course business ethics. Now he tells Fox Business that the school’s focus is in ‘building an Entrepreneurial course.’ The course, according to Madoff, will focus ‘around my experiences building my market making and Prop trading business and my role in NASDAQ and electronic trading. I have been approached by number of other business schools but have only committed to Harvard.’ ‘Some strange turn of events, HUH!’ he writes about academia’s interest in what he has to say. Yes, if they were true.”

On Harvard’s response to whether Bernie Madoff is helping them design a course for business school students:
“The entire matter is not true,” a spokesman for the Harvard Business School told the Fox Business Network. “The business school is not working with Bernard Madoff on anything.”

On the Justice Department conducting a probe into insider trading:
“Madoff says the government is really late to the game and missing most of the big cases. Insider trading he says, ‘goes on at every major firm’s Prop Desk and at every level of the Industry in plain sight and is the easiest thing to spot with today’s order trails.’ He singles out SAC Capital among the chief culprits.”

On Madoff’s allegations that SAC capital is guilty of insider trading:
“SAC, which is being investigated by Justice Department as part of its probe, says it has done nothing wrong, and neither the firm nor Cohen has been charged with civil or criminal securities law violations. But Madoff says SAC along with its major competitors have been relying on insider tips for years. ‘The only reason the regulators are addressing it now is because of the uproar in Congress (about insider trading abuses) How did Geithner and Paulson escape as they did?,’ he writes referring to the former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and the current on Tim Geithner, though it’s unclear what they have to do with insider trading.’ The worst kept secret was Steve Cohn’s trading as well as most other hedge funds.’”

On Madoff’s interactions with SAC Capital Chief Steve Cohen:
“How does he know SAC relies on insider information? Madoff says that while he ‘never met Steve Cohen,’ he once called Cohen and told “him to stop his managers from approaching my traders with their offer to give them info if we let SAC execute our commission business’”

On SAC Capital’s response:
“A spokesman for SAC Capital counters that ‘Steven Cohen has never met or spoken with Bernard Madoff and any such assertion is absolutely false.’”

On Madoff’s attempts to garner publicity:
“So far he has been interviewed by a handful of print reporters. Meanwhile, just about every major television media outlet including Fox Business is asking for the first on camera interview with the convicted swindler. Rumors are swirling that the Today Show has been to Butner to shoot footage in preparation for the first on-camera spot with Madoff; Madoff won’t comment other than to say that he has made one commitment to one major network that may or may not pan out and the decision is ‘weeks away.’”

On who else in the Madoff family is attracting publicity:
“As Madoff shops himself to various news organizations his son Andrew may soon be coming out with his side of the story that competes with his father’s jail-house version. Madoff told me during a recent telephone interview that Andrew ‘is taking with 60 Minutes’. ‘Well that’s good, or maybe not so good’, I responded knowing Andrew’s anger toward his father. ‘Yeah, probably not so good’ Bernie said with a dry laugh. Neither Andrew’s attorney nor a spokesman for 60 Minutes would comment on the matter. But a person close the 60 Minutes tells Fox Business an interview with Andrew is clearly in the works. ‘It’s still in the talking stage,’ this person said. ‘It’s a plan, and until the guy actually sits down you don’t know if it’s ever going to happen.’”

On conversations with Madoff regarding his crimes:
“On the surface, Madoff appears both candid and believable about his own career and about what he says is the scandal-ridden business he was part of for the past half century, though many of his musings often lead to dead ends, or like his Harvard connection turn out to be outright lies. Madoff at times comes off as the ultimate straight shooter. ‘Let me first say that none of my comments should in any way taken as justification of my own wrongdoing,’ he writes in one email. ‘That would be impossible.’”

“Madoff contends he’s not really the world’s greatest swindler who with the help of a few clerks and back office people carried out a 2-decade long white collar crime spree. Rather, he’s somewhat of a victim who turned to crime as a way of dealing with unscrupulous Wall Street types that are found all over the financial services business.”

On whether Wall Street is any safer today:
“It is unfortunate, to say the least, that the financial services industry is so corrupt and stacked against the typical investor,” he wrote in another email. One major reason for the corruption, Madoff says, is that people like him play a direct role in regulating Wall Street.

On his Ponzi scheme:
“He was ‘trapped into the greed of others,’ such as his large clients who demanded high returns and looked away from obvious red flags about his claims of producing consistent year-after-year high returns, to keep the fraud going. ‘I made a terrible mistake with the help of others but the fact that these other complicit parties were complicit does not excuse me for allowing myself to be trapped into the greed of others,’ he writes in one of his emails. ‘The only reason my LARGE investors continued to give me money was they all believed that I was front running (illegally trading ahead of customers) like everyone else and they felt this explained my consistent performance.’ Madoff adds that “The Swiss were especially fond of this explanation and that rumor swept thru Europe for years. They were sure that it was o.k. because all the other firms were also doing it. In their warped minds this practice was no worse than illegal bank accounts.”

On the relationship between Madoff and his family and friends as a result of his crimes:
“Madoff doesn’t mention how his “terrible mistake” had real human costs—multiple suicides (at least one investor and his son Mark took their own lives in the aftermath of the scandal), the estrangement of his family who walk around with the curse of the Madoff name. His wife, I am told, no longer speaks to him and his other son, Andrew, openly displays his disdain for his dad in conversations with friends. Lawyers for both declined comment.

Dr. Keith Ablow on Madoff’s psychological state:
“’Madoff developed an artificial sense of reality. Now even in prison he is trying to do the same thing.’

Ablow also says that enticing the media to believe he is still important with places like Harvard, or has inside knowledge into how Wall Street really works fills a ‘pathological need for Madoff to make people believe he is special and capable of extraordinary talents as he has done for so long in his life.’ Ablow believes it’s that ‘pathological narcissism’ that drove Madoff to prove to the world he was a great investor even if he had to lie and cheat his way to the top.”

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About Ron Haruni 1067 Articles
Ron Haruni is the Co-Founder & Editor in Chief of Wall Street Pit.

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