Judgement day looms for former investment manager

The day of reckoning for former manager of the Manhattan Investment Fund, Michael Berger, is approaching.

On Thursday, 3 January 2002, he appeared in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York before Judge Victor Marrero. This follows his change of plea from guilty to not guilty to criminal charges in September 2001 involving the management of the Manhattan Fund.

In the fund's heyday it was valued at $593m however that figure had dwindled to less than $30m when its assets were frozen in January 2000. Many high profile fund managers were victims of the scandal including: Bank of Bermuda (Luxembourg), HSBC Republic Bank (Suisse), JP Morgan (Suisse), and Winchester Holdings Ltd-Olympia Star Global Hedge.

The criminal prosecutor Jay Musoff reported that no date had been set for delivery of any criminal judgement.

Berger has a new defense lawyer, New York-based Joseph Bondy. He replaced Kronish, Lieb, Weiner & Hellman, which had formerly taken over from Morvillo, Abramowitz, Grand, Lason & Silberberg.

In addition, Berger is appealing a civil court finding brought about by the United Securities and Exchange Commission last November. In her judgement, Judge Cote found that he owed $US20m from ill-gotten gains and also fined Berger $US100,000.

Berger remains on bail.

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