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French investor takes life after massive losses in Madoff scandal

A French investment manager who plowed 1.5 billion euros (2.1 billion dollars) into Bernard Madoff's fraudulent scheme Noun 1. fraudulent scheme - an illegal enterprise (such as extortion or fraud or drug peddling or prostitution) carried on for profit
illegitimate enterprise, racket
 was found dead in his New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 office, in what a friend says was a suicide.

An autopsy was to be performed Wednesday on Thierry de la Villehuchet, 65, who was found dead shortly after 7:00 am (1200 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) See UTC.

GMT - Universal Time 1
) Tuesday by a security officer of the Madison Avenue building that housed his Access International investment concern, according to the New York police New York Police may refer to:
  • New York City Police (NYPD)
  • New York State Police
  • Port Authority Police(PAPD)

Villehuchet, co-founder and chief executive of Access International, which invested funds for the cream of Europe's high society, was both an investor in and apparent victim of Madoff, a former Wall Street pillar now accused of running a multi-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme A fraudulent investment plan in which the investments of later investors are used to pay earlier investors, giving the appearance that the investments of the initial participants dramatically increase in value in a short amount of time. .

He "could not cope with the pressure following the outbreak of the scandal," one of Villehuchet's close friends told AFP (1) (AppleTalk Filing Protocol) The file sharing protocol used in an AppleTalk network. In order for non-Apple networks to access data in an AppleShare server, their protocols must translate into the AFP language. See file sharing protocol.  in Paris, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Villehuchet was managing some two billion euros (2.79 billion dollars) for European clients, of which three quarters had been invested with Madoff when the scandal broke, added the friend.

Villehuchet was "devastated dev·as·tate  
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.

2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark.
" and feared his clients would turn against him in the courts, the source said.

Officials at Access, which employs 26 workers and managed three billion dollars before the scandal broke, would not comment.

"Access was his whole life, and Madoff was a manager in whom he had complete trust. I lunched with him two weeks ago and he said, how lucky it was that Madoff was the only manager still doing well at the moment."

"A perfectly honest guy," according to his friend, Villehuchet had "teams that recorded all of Madoff's operations. He could not imagine those were fake documents."

Prosecutors say that Madoff, 70, has confessed to losing upwards of 50 billion dollars over years of running a pyramid scheme Pyramid Scheme

An illegal investment scam based on a hierarchical setup that relies on new recruits' funding as the source of money, or so-called returns, to be provided to those earlier investors/recruits above them in the pyramid.
, where new investors were secretly fleeced to pay returns to earlier investors, in what may be the biggest scam in the history of Wall Street.

Madoff, former chairman of the Nasdaq stock market Nasdaq stock market

The first electronic stock market listing over 5000 companies. The Nasdaq stock market comprises two separate markets, namely the Nasdaq National Market, which trades large, active securities and the Nasdaq Smallcap Market that trades emerging growth companies.
 and a mainstay of the powerful American Jewish community, is currently free on bail of 10 million dollars as police continue their probe.

After the scam was revealed on December 11, Villehuchet was "crushed" and feared that his clients would sue him, the friend said.

"I had known him since 1992. He was one of a kind, a very warm, hard-working man."

Married without children, Villehuchet "was a man of honor and humor, very funny, a keen sailor and suicide seems contradictory to the type of person he was," long-time friend Marie-Monique Steckel, president of the French Institute-Alliance Francaise in New York, told AFP.

The Madoff scandal has already sent shockwaves through Madoff's former clients around the world and underlined systemic problems at the heart of the US financial industry and the government agency meant to watch over it.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week announced a probe into how the financial regulatory body failed to detect the alleged fraud scheme despite a decade of warning signs.

Only about 60 percent of those affected by the Madoff scandal have been identified so far, but they are said to include private individuals who invested their life savings for their golden years, some of the world's largest banks, and philanthropic organizations whose endowments in many cases were entirely wiped out.

The scandal also has bilked a long line of wealthy European and American investors, including the owner of the New York Mets
"Mets" redirects here. For the medical term, see Metastasis. For the file format, see METS.
The New York Mets are a professional baseball club based in the borough of Queens, in New York City, New York.
 baseball team Fred Wilpon; Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar; New York media mogul Mort Zuckerman; former Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman; and New Jersey senator Frank Lautenberg, among many others.
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Publication:AFP American Edition
Date:Dec 24, 2008
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