[JURIST] The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) [official website] on Thursday announced that it will open an investigation into the UK business operations [press release] of US financier Bernard Madoff [JURIST news archive] to determine whether any criminal offenses have been committed in the UK. The focus will be on victims in the UK, and the SFO has asked that anyone involved with Madoff's UK businesses come forward to assist in the investigation. SFO director Richard Alderman [official profile] said:
This is a good example of the SFO's new, faster, approach to tackling fraud. The public say they want us to take early action and this is what we are doing. We will work closely with other law enforcement agencies to discover the truth behind the collapse of these huge financial structures. And we again ask for help from ex-employees and others.Madoff was charged [JURIST report] last month with securities fraud after he allegedly told two employees that his investment advisory business was "basically, a giant Ponzi scheme." UK financial firm Bramdean Alternatives Limited [corporate website] has raised concerns [statement, DOC; JURIST report] about the US financial regulatory process after its value dropped by more than 35 percent following news of its exposure to the fraud. In the week following Madoff's charges, US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) [official website] Chairman Christopher Cox [official profile] said that he would launch an immediate investigation [press release; JURIST report] into how the fraud allegedly perpetrated by Bernard Madoff went undetected for so long. On Monday, the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee [official website] began hearings [materials; JURIST report] in an investigation into the SEC's failure to detect the fraud scheme. On Tuesday, Assistant US Attorney Marc Litt urged [JURIST report] that Madoff, who is currently free on $10 million bail, be jailed for allegedly mailing valuable jewelry to family members in violation of a court order prohibiting him from disposing of or concealing any assets.