Sunday, December 28, 2008

Head of Fund Invested in Madoff Is Found Dead

http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/23/head-of-fund-invested-in-madoff-said-to-commit-suicide/

Head of Fund Invested in Madoff Is Found Dead
December 23, 2008

Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, a founder of the hedge fund Access International Advisors, was found dead Tuesday in his office in Manhattan. His fund reportedly lost as much as $1.4 billion that had been invested with Bernard L. Madoff, the money manager accused of running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

A spokeswoman for the New York City Medical Examiner confirmed to Reuters that Mr. de la Villehuchet was pronounced dead Tuesday morning at a Madison Avenue building.

Authorities told DealBook that Mr. de la Villehuchet was found in his office with injuries to his arms, having apparently slit his wrists.

Mr. de la Villehuchet, 65, had been trying to recover the money that Access International raised in Europe and invested through Mr. Madoff’s business, according to La Tribune, which first reported the news, citing an unnamed source.

Luxalpha, a $1.4 billion Luxembourg-based fund sold across Europe, invested in Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities. Access International last week called Mr. Madoff’s arrest “a shocking development” in a note to investors. Investors in the fund included a unit of Rothschild and several clients of the Swiss bank UBS.

UBS had been the custodian and administrator of the fund until this year when Access International took over. No one answered the phone at Access International’s New York office. No one responded to a phone call to Mr. de la Villehuchet’s home.

UBS has stated that Mr. Madoff was not on the bank’s wealth management recommended list as a direct investment option but it produced and sold funds containing the investment manager’s products. UBS would establish fund of funds structures at clients’ requests.

By early afternoon, a small scrum of reporters and photographers had gathered in front of the narrow entrance to Access International’s office on Madison Avenue in midtown Manhattan, only a few blocks away from Rockefeller Center.

–Zachery Kouwe, Michael Wilson and Michael J. de la Merced

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