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Madoff UK unit escapes British fraud charges

The Serious Fraud Office confirmed it will not pursue charges against the UK arm of Bernard Madoff's investment firm as it seeks to broaden out its investigation.

“Following a thorough review of all the available evidence (the SFO) has decided to take no action against either the company or its directors, there being insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction,” a statement said.

The announcement confirms what a person familiar with the investigation told Reuters in December, that the SFO would drop its focus on the UK arm Madoff Securities International Ltd in order to target the feeder funds which funneled money to the US parent.

Madoff, serving a 150-year sentence after pleading guilty to running a $65 billion Ponzi scheme, has claimed he alone was responsible for the large-scale fraud.

The SFO had attempted to follow a trail of money from New York to the London arm, where it was used to make some low-risk trades before returning to the United States.

“The SFO continues to provide assistance to international partners in law enforcement on aspects of the continuing worldwide investigation and is continuing its own enquiries into wider aspects of the fraud which may give rise to offending in the UK,” the SFO statement said. (Reuters)