x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Madoff's true value

Two years after his arrest, Madoff's personal effects have been put up for auction by US marshals in Manhatten.

What's the value of used cuticle scissors? A bronze horse head? Nowhere near what investors lost to Bernie Madoff, the architect of the world's largest Ponzi scheme.

Two years after his arrest, Madoff's personal effects have been put up for auction by US marshals in Manhattan. The pre-sale value for the items, from unworn shoes to extemporaneous junk - like a "leather bull foot stool" with a tail that "needs to be re-attached" - was a meagre $1.5 million (Dh55 billion). Madoff was convicted in 2009 of a $50 billion con.

That Madoff's attic is now empty may comfort those disgusted by the swindler. Knowing that he languishes in prison doesn't hurt either. But as his jilted investors know, the cost of a hijacked nest egg is harder to calculate.

Perhaps the real value of the recent auction is the knowledge that money may have bought Madoff opulence, but it certainly didn't provide him good taste.