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Regulators had five chances to rumble Madoff, says report

US FINANCIAL regulators missed five chances to uncover Bernard Madoff&rsquo;s $65bn (&pound;40bn) Ponzi fraud, a scathing report said yesterday.<br /><br />The report by the inspector general of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Charles Grassley said the SEC launched five investigations into Madoff&rsquo;s activities dating back to 1992.<br /><br />But the giant fraud was only uncovered when Madoff himself decided to turn himself in to authorities.<br /><br />&ldquo;A thorough and competent investigation or examination was never performed,&rdquo; said Grassley.<br /><br />SEC examiners noticed contradictions in what Madoff was saying about his investment business but failed to dig deeper for the truth, the preliminary report found.<br /><br />At one point, the SEC&rsquo;s enforcement staff &ldquo;caught Madoff in lies and misrepresentations, but failed to follow up&rdquo; and accepted his explanations, it said.<br /><br />Grassley, a Republican senator, said this was &ldquo;further evidence of a culture of deference towards the Wall Street elite at the SEC&rdquo;.<br /><br />A full 450-page report on the regulatory failures is expected to be released on Friday.