Kudos to Portfolio magazine for this morning’s thought-provoking panel about Bernie Madoff. Panelists: Elie Wiesel (pr. Eely Vee-zel), a prominent author and founder of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, which lost money to Madoff; Harvey Pitt, ceo of Kalorama Partners and former Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); and Jim Chanos, President and founder of Kynikos Associates, a well-known short-seller. Portfolio Editor in Chief Joanne Lipman moderated. The conversation ranged from heart-felt to thought-provoking to vengeful. I Twittered it at http://www.twitter.com/laureltouby
Some of the questions raised: What is Affinity fraud? Why was there such a lack of accountability on the part of the SEC? Did Madoff have accomplices? Will the high-stakes banker-types at Lehman and Merrill be accused of criminal behavior? How can we trust that it was a $50b fraud when that number was what Madoff himself reported?
The best answer was given when someone in the audience asked Wiesel (who lost tens of millions of dollars to Madoff): “Could you ever forgive him?”
Wiesel repeats the question: “Forgive?” as if to consider it. Then, after a looooong pause, retorts “No!….He’d have to ask for forgiveness and he wouldn’t do that.”
A bit later, I’ll post some video. In the meantime, hit the “continued” link to find out more about what was said (and what went noticeably unsaid) about the Madoff Fraud…