First Reported Suicide From The Bernie Madoff Scandal

This bloke who offed himself was a big deal among French-Swiss Jewry and European Jewish financiers.

Experts say that having a big hairy long hyphenated name is the single best warning sign for an impending suicide.

How could we have been so blind?

To his friends, he was simply "Rene."

The New York Times reports:

Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, a founder of the hedge fund Access International Advisors, was found dead Tuesday in his office in Manhattan. His fund reportedly lost as much as $1.4 billion that had been invested with Bernard L. Madoff, the money manager accused of running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

A spokeswoman for the New York City Medical Examiner confirmed to Reuters that Mr. de la Villehuchet was pronounced dead Tuesday morning at a Madison Avenue building.

Authorities told DealBook that Mr. de la Villehuchet was found in his office with injuries to his arms, having apparently slit his wrists.

Mr. de la Villehuchet, 65, had been trying to recover the money that Access International raised in Europe and invested through Mr. Madoff’s business, according to La Tribune, which first reported the news, citing an unnamed source.

FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES:

PARIS — For generations, the calling card of Swiss private bankers has been the promise of prudence and discretion.

Now, as the links between Bernard L. Madoff and elite private banks like Geneva-based Union Bancaire Privée emerge, this well-polished reputation has been tarnished by the $50 billion Ponzi scheme that Mr. Madoff has been arrested for and accused of running.

L’Affaire Madoff, as it has become known here and in Geneva, has cast an unwanted spotlight onto the normally shadowy world of private bankers in Switzerland and other cozy hiding places of offshore wealth, like the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg.

And while there are many Swiss victims in terms of total exposure, UBP is the best-known private bank to get hit, with $700 million of its clients’ money invested with Mr. Madoff.

Founded in 1969 by Edgar de Picciotto, UBP quickly became a giant in the conservative world of Swiss banking, where partnerships like Pictet and Lombard Odier stretch back more than 200 years.

With assets of $125 billion and a client base of wealthy individuals, families and institutions that reach from Qatar to Uruguay to Russia and throughout Europe, it is one of Switzerland’s biggest pipelines for channeling client money into hedge funds worldwide.

About six years ago, that business, known as a fund of funds, began to rake in larger fees when it decided to set up a vehicle called M-Invest Ltd to funnel cash to Mr. Madoff’s firm.

Through this relationship, UBP claimed it was able to gain close insight into Mr. Madoff’s investment operations, through copies of trade tickets and an unusual degree of access granted by Mr. Madoff himself to UBP’s representatives, according to a confidential internal letter sent to investors on Dec. 17, obtained by The New York Times.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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