Federal prosecutors investigating Bernard Madoff's $50 billion fraud are starting to look into the role played by offshore fund operations, the New York Times reported.
Investigators are especially interested in whether Madoff and some of his investors used funds based in offshore tax havens to evade American taxes, the paper said, citing a person who was briefed on the investigation and remained anonymous.
The paper said, according to the person, the likelihood of charities improperly allowing their donors to shift money offshore and foreign banks withholding American taxes on Madoff accounts were also being scrutinized.
Regulatory filings indicate the involvement of at least a dozen offshore entities with Madoff's firm, the paper said.
According to the paper these include funds linked to the Fairfield Greenwich Group, which lost $7.4 billion of its investors' money to Madoff, Tremont Group Holdings, which had $3.3 billion invested, and several Swiss banks.
Fairfield Greenwich Group and Tremont Group Holdings could not immediately be reached for comment.
Confessed swindler Bernard Madoff faces a Wednesday deadline to tell regulators how much he is worth and where his money and other assets are, but it may be longer before his investors learn the tallies.
Madoff is under house arrest in his Manhattan apartment on $10 million bail and he has not appeared in court to formally answer the charges.
(Reporting by Eric Yep in Bangalore; Editing by David Cowell)