En 1992, la SEC, le gendarme de la bourse américain, recevait déjà les premier signaux de Madoff. Plusieurs autres messages lui parvinrent plus tard, mais ce ne sera finalement qu’en 2008 que la vérité éclatera, soit près de 16 plus tard. Alors pourquoi une telle fraude n’a-t-elle pas été détectée plus tôt? Est-ce dà» à l’inexpérience des équipes en charge des contrôles? Une relation familiale particulière qui aurait impacté le degré d’indépendance attendu des superviseurs? Un montage financier ingénieux et indétectable? …
Pour trouver une réponse à toutes ces questions, la SEC a publié, le 31 aoà»t dernier, un rapport d’investigation détaillant l’historique du dossier et analysant les faiblesses ayant mené à un tel désastre financier. La version publique de ce rapport, épaisse de 477 pages, est disponible directement sur le site à l’adresse suivante : Investigation of Failure of the SEC to Uncover Bernard Madoff's Ponzi Scheme – Public Version – et dont voici un extrait tiré du sommaire exécutif (executive summary):
The OIG investigation did not find evidence that any SEC personnel who worked on an SEC examination or investigation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, LLC (BMIS) had any financial or other inappropriate connection with Bernard Madoff or the Madoff family that influenced the conduct of their examination or investigatory work. The OIG also did not find that former SEC Assistant Director Eric Swanson's romantic relationship with Bernard Madoff's niece, Shana Madoff, influenced the conduct of the SEC examinations of Madoff and his firm. We also did not find that senior officials at the SEC directly attempted to influence examinations or investigations of Madoff or the Madoff firm, nor was there evidence any senior SEC official interfered with the staff's ability to perform its work.
The OIG investigation did find, however, that the SEC received more than ample information in the form of detailed and substantive complaints over the years to warrant a thorough and comprehensive examination and/or investigation of Bernard Madoff and BMIS for operating a Ponzi scheme, and that despite three examinations and two investigations being conducted, a thorough and competent investigation or examination was never performed. The OIG found that between June 1992 and December 2008 when Madoff confessed, the SEC received six substantive complaints that raised significant red flags concerning Madoff's hedge fund operations and should have led to questions about whether Madoff was actually engaged in trading. Finally, the SEC was also aware of two articles regarding Madoff's investment operations that appeared in reputable publications in 2001 and questioned Madoff's unusually consistent returns.