Bernard Madoff's ‘Bull’ back on the market again

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 September, 2013, 3:16am

A luxury yacht bought by financial fraudster Bernard Madoff for US$8 million in 2007 and named 'Bull' is back on the market after earlier attempts to sell the vessel were thwarted by a French investment firm.

Bull will be sold through tender and is expected to fetch about US$2.5 million, according to the liquidators who are trying to recover funds to pay back the victims of Madoff's ponzi scheme.

Madoff, 75, was arrested in December 2008, pleaded guilty three months later, and is serving a 150-year sentence in a North Carolina federal prison. He masterminded a US$65bn fraud that wrecked the lives of thousands of investors.

His victims included charities, banks, Hollywood stars and moguls, and savvy financial players. His fraud collapsed in 2008 when he could no longer lure new money to fund withdrawals.

The yacht, seized by US Marshals in April 2009, was the largest in a fleet of several yachts owned by the former Wall Street investment adviser and chairman of the Nasdaq exchange. The price tag is a significant discount from the boat's original price, apparently due to its connection with Madoff.

The galley of the yacht is said to be in pristine condition because the fastidious Madoff never allowed guests to bring food on board to avoid mess.

"It's just a shame his financial affairs weren't kept in such shipshape fashion," according to a press statement by the yacht portal where the deal is listed.

Liquidators are keen to test the US market before concluding a sale and believe the yacht's association with the largest swindle of the 20th century makes it almost a piece of American heritage. Ling Law, a spokesman for the website, said the tender would be open-ended, and that the estimate was set by liquidator Grant Thornton.

Authorities put the yacht up for auction in 2009, but it was withdrawn after French investment firm Meeschart sought to have the yacht seized in a bid to recover some of the losses it sustained at the hands of Madoff and his investment funds.

Bull is an 88-foot Leopard yacht from the Italian shipyard of Cantiere Navale Arno and is one of the fastest yachts in her class ever built. She has four sumptuous en-suite cabins providing accommodation for eight guests with additional crew quarters.

The yacht will be available for viewing during the Monaco Yacht Show which runs from September 25 to 28.