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Lawyers: Madoff had US$823m in assets

CONVICTED fraudster Bernard Madoff and his wife had US$823 million in assets at the end of last year, including US$22 million in properties stretching from New York to the French Riviera, a US$7 million yacht and a US$2.2 million boat named "Bull," according to a document his lawyers filed in the United States on Friday.

The document was contained in papers filed with the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in an effort to get Madoff freed on bail.

Among the couple's assets were: a US$12 million half share in a plane, US$65,000 in silverware and a US$39,000 piano. It values their four properties - in New York's Manhattan and Montauk, Palm Beach, Florida, and Cap d'Antibes, France - at US$22 million, and the furniture, fine art and household goods in the homes at US$8.7 million.

But the bulk of Madoff's assets consists of an estimated US$700 million value put on his investment business. Madoff said during his plea the market making and proprietary trading side of his business were "legitimate, profitable and successful in all respects."

On Thursday Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 charges, including fraud, perjury and money laundering, in what could be the biggest Wall Street swindle. He faces a maximum sentence of 150 years in prison and the judge immediately jailed him.

Arguing for his release, Madoff's lawyers say it would be difficult to prepare for his sentencing without the ability to see him frequently.

They say Madoff did not flee after his December arrest even though he "was always cognizant of the fact that he would die in prison."

An appeals court will hear the case or Thursday.

Thus far no one else has been implicated in the scam, and it could be a while before anyone else is arrested and the full extent of the swindle comes to light. On Thursday, Madoff took all the blame for his fraud.

But it's probable Madoff's closest relatives and associates are high on authorities' list of people who may have known what was going on.

Among those under scrutiny is Madoff's wife, Ruth, who withdrew US$15.5 million from a Madoff-related brokerage firm in the weeks before Madoff's arrest.


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