MADOFF SCANDAL

'Madoff transferred 100 million pounds to US'

According to the Financial Times, US financier Bernard Madoff, accused of massive fraud, transferred 100 million pounds from his London-based firm to his US company just weeks before his arrest, based on fears about sterling's value.

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AFP - Wall Street investor Bernard Madoff ordered his London-based company to transfer 100 million pounds to his US firm just weeks before his arrest on suspicion of massive fraud, it was reported Friday.

The Financial Times, quoting two former employees of the British firm Madoff Securities International, said Madoff called staff on November 12 and said he wanted to move the money, citing fears about the falling value of the pound.

He said he wanted to move 100 million pounds (150 million dollars, 110 million euros) of the British firm's capital from gilts into US Treasury bonds.

US prosecutors on Thursday alleged Madoff was planning to send out cheques worth about 173 million dollars just before his arrest on December 11, sparked when he allegedly confessed to running a 50-billion-dollar pyramid scheme.

Sources told the FT that Madoff's money transfer request was not unusual, and said the British company received paperwork from the United States about the Treasuries purchase. Apparently there is no proof that bonds were bought.

There is no suggestion that the British firm did anything wrong.

Meanwhile, the Serious Fraud Office said Thursday it has launched an investigation into Madoff's British activities.

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