Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tell Me Again How It Is That Free-Market Capitalism And Free-Market Culture Works?

"Mr Madoff’s clients believed that he employed a “split-strike options strategy” that would make money in both up and down markets through trades in stocks and options. … The perceived edge was Madoff’s ability to gather and process market-order flow information and use this information to time the implementation of the split-strike options strategy.”

Henny Sender “Madoff had ‘perceived edge’ in the markets” Financial Times December 21, 2008


”Sonja Kohn, an Austrian bank executive who helped raise funds that invested with Bernard Madoff, is hard to ignore in Vienna’s small financial community.

With her heavy jewellery and her loud voice, Ms Kohn built up a reputation in Vienna over the years as a successful money manager. She was born and raised in Vienna in a traditional, but not religious Jewish family. In the 1970s, she and her husband moved to Milan and later Switzerland. Her life changed when she moved to New York in the 1980s. The family became orthodox and settled in Monsey, NY, a suburb with a large orthodox community.

In 1990, she founded Eurovaleur, which managed various funds for other institutions. During her time in New York she became acquainted with Mr Madoff.

Ms Kohn returned to Vienna in the early 1990s. In 1994, Ms Kohn founded Medici Finanz in which Bank Austria took a 25 per cent stake. At Bank Austria, Ms Kohn was known for her connections and the private way she conducted her operations.

Most of her time was thought to have been spent in Israel, Switzerland and New York. She also travelled to eastern Europe and Moscow, where some of her biggest clients apparently lived.”

Eric Frey “Profile: Austrian bank executive Sonja Kohn” Financial Times December 22, 2008

Image credits: Mihály Munkácsy's The Pawn Broker; 'Decadence' Australian television series; and Tony Cenicola and the New York Times. Copyright controlled. With thanks.


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