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Home / Business / General Electric: Madoff investigator claims $ 38 billion scam

General Electric: Madoff investigator claims $ 38 billion scam



  Harry Markopolos Copyright copyright
Getty Images

Caption

Harry Markopolos notified regulators of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme in the early 2000s

A private finance researcher who flagged warnings about Bernard Madoff's $ 65bn Ponzi scheme is now targeting one of the US blue chip companies.

In a 1

75-page report, Harry Markopolos claimed General Electric (GE) concealed from an accounting scandal.

He accused GE of hiding $ 38.1 billion in potential losses and claimed the company's cash situation was far worse than disclosed.

GE called it "worthless, erroneous and self-serving speculation."

CEO Lawrence Culp also accused Markopolos of "false statements of fact" and said he had not checked the facts with GE before publication.

Markopolo's analysis of GE's financial position, called General Electric: A Bigger Fraud Than Enron, claims: "$ 38bn in accounting fraud accounts for over 40% of GE's market value, making it far more serious than either the accounting fraud Enron or WorldCom."

The report highlights the conglomerate's exposure to long-term care insurance in the United States and its oil industry services.

Markopolo's reference to two of America's most notorious scams in the report was seen as potentially serious, as both led to prosecution.

Copyright copyright
Reuters

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Over the past two years, GE has announced more than $ 40bn in impairment

GE's stock price fell 15% on Thursday following news of the report and an appearance by Markopolos on the CNBC television network. The stock dropped 11%, GE's one-day decline of 11 years. As a token of faith in his company, Culp bought $ 2 million in GE shares, according to reports .

Markopolos disclosed that he had provided a preliminary copy of the report to a named hedge fund and would receive a percentage of the profits from any stock price movement.

Some analysts dismissed the report, with John Hempton, co-founder of the Bronte Capital hedge fund calling it "stupid". However, Reuters noted that Wall Street analysts have long been concerned about allegations of GE's low cash flow, fees and asset write-downs and allegedly opaque financial reports.

Over the past two years, GE has announced more than $ 40bn in impairment charges and accounting costs. The company has also stated that its accounting is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice.

& # 39; Economically motivated & # 39;

Mr Culp told journalists in the United States that Markopolo's report contained actual errors and constituted "market manipulation – plain and simple," because the investigator had profited from making a short sale for publication.

Earlier, GE gave a powerful response to Markopolos: "We are still focused on running our business every day and … will not be distracted by this kind of reckless, misunderstood and self-serving speculation."

The company said it "stands behind the economy" and operates to the "highest level of integrity" in its financial reporting. [19659007] "Mr. Markopolos openly acknowledges that he is being compensated by named hedge funds. Such funds are financially motivated to try to generate short sales in a company to create unnecessary volatility."

He is known to alert regulators in the early 2000s about signs that CFO Bernard Madoff's investment company was a Ponzi scheme, a deception in which unusually high returns for early investors are generated with money from later investors.

Madoff was arrested in 2008 and later sentenced to 150 years in prison for the scam.


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