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They are expanding their holdings in these sectors, which corrupts the normal functioning of these markets and may have a destabilizing effect on U.S. geopolitical interests
The groups launder billions of dollars through U.S. financial institutions, and invest profits in publicly traded companies.
The two most prominent hedge funds that invested with Madoff were the $7.3 billion Fairfield Sentry, run by Walter Noel's Fairfield Greenwich Group, and the $2.8 billion Kingate Global Fund, run by Kingate Management.
Fairfield Sentry and Kingate Global were among a small group of hedge funds to report positive returns for 2008; the average hedge fund was down 18 percent, according to data from Hedge Fund Research.
Benedict Hentsch, a Swiss private bank, said it had 56 million Swiss francs ($47 million) of exposure to Madoff's investment advisory business. UniCredit SpA's fund management unit, Pioneer Investments, has exposure through its Primeo Select hedge fund, two people familiar with the matter said.
Bramdean Alternatives said almost 10 percent of its holdings were exposed to Madoff, sending shares in the UK asset manager crashing.
BNP Paribas, the biggest French bank, said Sunday that it has as much as €350 million, or $472 million, at risk from Madoff's investment advisory business. Nomura Holdings of Japan has ¥27.5 billion, or $302 million, at risk from Madoff's funds, while Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria of Spain may face up to €300 million in losses.
Among the apparent victims of Madoff were many Jewish educational institutions and charitable causes that lost fortunes in his investments; they include Yeshiva University, Hadassah, the Jewish Community Centers Association of North America and the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. The Chais Family Foundation, which worked on educational projects in Israel, was recently forced to shut down because of losses in Madoff investments.
Investors in a hedge fund owned by MassMutual Financial Group may have lost more than $3 billion in the alleged Ponzi scheme
Rye Investment Management is a division of MassMutual's Tremont Group Holding, Inc., which is a subsidiary of Oppenheimer Acquisition Corp., a subsidiary of MassMutual, said company spokesman Mark E. Cybulski.
MassMutual had $500 billion in assets at the end of 2007.