The New York Times interviewed a "noticeably" thinner Bernie Madoff in prison and, wouldn't you know it, he said that "unidentified banks and hedge funds were somehow 'complicit' in his elaborate fraud," and also this:

"They had to know," Mr. Madoff said. "But the attitude was sort of, ‘If you're doing something wrong, we don't want to know.'"

The banks, of course, deny it:

To date, none of the major banks or hedge funds that did business with Mr. Madoff have been accused by federal prosecutors of knowingly investing in his Ponzi scheme. However, Mr. Picard in civil lawsuits has asserted that executives at some banks expressed suspicions for years, yet continued to do business with Mr. Madoff and steer their clients' money into his hands.

All the financial entities facing civil lawsuits by Madoff victims and Mr. Picard have denied they had any knowledge of the fraud.

Madoff's interlocutor, Diana Henriques (who's writing a book about Madoff for the Times' vanity press) sounds vaguely unconvinced by the guy's accusations, maybe because she (or her paper) doesn't want to come right out and say it, but, come on, duh, right? I mean, how could they not have known?

Sure, Madoff is the guilty one; he has no one to blame but himself; etc., but, really, any investment banker or hedge fund manager who was looking at his returns and didn't suspect something should probably not be in the business of dealing with large sums of money! Though, come to think of it, one thing the past five years have made clear is that very few investment bankers and hedge fund managers should be in the business of dealing with large sums of money, so maybe they actually could not spot a Ponzi scheme.

[NYT; image via AP]