Morning Brief: World’s banks reel from Madoff fallout

Top Story The fallout of New York trader Bernard Madoff’s alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme is being felt throughout the global financial system. Major banks in the Netherlands, Spain, Britain, and Japan stand to lose millions, having invested in Madoff’s fund, or lent money to clients who did. Spain’s Santander faces some of the biggest ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
591050_081216_santander5.jpg
591050_081216_santander5.jpg

Top Story

The fallout of New York trader Bernard Madoff's alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme is being felt throughout the global financial system. Major banks in the Netherlands, Spain, Britain, and Japan stand to lose millions, having invested in Madoff's fund, or lent money to clients who did. Spain's Santander faces some of the biggest losses with nearly over $3 billion in exposure to the scam.

One major U.S. hedge fund had nearly half its assets invested with Madoff. The Madoff fraud may also prove catastrophic for Jewish organizations and charities who had invested heavily with him.

Top Story

The fallout of New York trader Bernard Madoff’s alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme is being felt throughout the global financial system. Major banks in the Netherlands, Spain, Britain, and Japan stand to lose millions, having invested in Madoff’s fund, or lent money to clients who did. Spain’s Santander faces some of the biggest losses with nearly over $3 billion in exposure to the scam.

One major U.S. hedge fund had nearly half its assets invested with Madoff. The Madoff fraud may also prove catastrophic for Jewish organizations and charities who had invested heavily with him.

The financial world was blindsided by the arrest of Madoff, a fixture of the New York financial world, though the Wall Street Journal reports that some analysts had been sounding the alarm about him for years. As one fund manager told the Financial Times, “This was the train wreck that happened in broad daylight.”

Americas

The Illinois legislature may launch impeachment proceedings against Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

A U.S. Department of Justice report said that Mexican drug gangs pose the largest organized crime threat to the United States.

JKF’s daughter Caroline Kennedy will seek Hillary Clinton’s New York senate seat.

U.S. Presidential Transition

President-elect Barack Obama picked Chicago schools superintendent Arne Duncan as his secretary of education and officially rolled out his five-person energy team.

A grand jury is investigating contributions to Obama’s commerce secretary-designate, Bill Richardson.

Obama told reporters that his advisors had “no inappropriate contact” with Blagojevich. 
 

Middle East

Israel freed more than 200 Palestinian prisoners. The country also blocked a U.N. official who had accused it of war crimes from reentering the country.

Thousands of Iraqis demonstrated for the release of the journalist who threw a shoe at President George W. Bush.

Former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami is considering running for president again.

The U.S. and United Arab Emirates finalized their nuclear cooperation deal.

Asia

A suspected U.S. missile strike killed two in northwest Pakistan.

Across east Asia, authorities are cracking down on graft.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, has formed a charter.

Europe

French police disarmed an explosive device at a Paris department store. An Afghan group has claimed responsibility.

A Nazi skinhead group allegedly responsible for 18 murders was arrested in Moscow.

Italian police made more than 100 arrests in an anti-mafia crackdown.

Africa

South Africa’s former defense minister launched a new political party to challenge the African National Congress’s dominance.

The U.N.’s special envoy to Niger has gone missing.

Someone took a shot at Zimbabwe’s air force chief, a close ally of President Robert Mugabe.

Today’s Agenda

The U.S. Federal Reserve meets. It is widely expected to cut interest rates.

The World Meteorological Organization will present its annual statement on the global climate.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to give an address on the global economy. 

Photo: PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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