Madoff: Banks 'had to know' about scheme
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Convicted Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff, in a jailhouse interview published Wednesday, said banks and hedge funds were "complicit" in his multi-billion dollar fraud.
"They had to know," Madoff told New York Times reporter Diana B. Henriques, who is working on a book about the case. "But the attitude was sort of, 'If you're doing something wrong, we don't want to know.' "
Madoff, serving a 150-year prison term in Butner, N.C., did not specify which banks or funds might have known about the scheme, and he didn't say that any of them were accomplices to his scheme.
The Times said that Madoff, in the interview and in e-mails sent to the reporter, claims to have been helping Irving Picard, the trustee seeking to recover assets stolen from investors. The paper said Picard declined comment on Madoff's level of cooperation.
Mets owners: $300 million in Madoff profit?
Madoff also asserted in the interview that New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon and his business partner, Saul Katz, knew nothing about the scheme.
Picard has filed suits seeking repayment from several investors, including Wilpon and Katz, as well as JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500), saying they took profits from Madoff in the years leading up to the 2008 revelation of the scheme. The Mets owners and the bank have denied any wrongdoing.
Madoff said in the interview that Picard should be able to recover enough assets from banks and hedge funds without suing individual investors who might have gained money from him.
In an e-mail cited by the Times, Madoff said that his clients made more from investing with him than they would have made elsewhere. "I would have loved for them to not lose anything, but that was a risk they were well aware of by investing in the market," he wrote.
Madoff ruined thousands, including his son
Madoff denied that he refused to attend the funeral of his son, Mark, who committed suicide in December. Madoff told the paper that prison officials would not approve the request because of a "public safety issue" and the limited time available to make arrangements.
In an e-mail sent Dec. 29, Madoff said his attendance "would be a media circus" and "would be cruel to his family."