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Opening Bell: 01.20.09

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Fund Fugitive's '05 Finagling (NYP)
Arthur Nadel, now being dubbed, by some, as "Mini Madoff," was probably working on his own Ponzi scheme as early as 2005. And although federal agents are on his tail, he seems to be in good spirits, hangin' in a small town just north of New Orleans.
Hedge Funds Help Fund Obama Inauguration (FINAlternatives)
"The bill for Obama's swearing-in may hit $150 million--more than $100 million of which is for security costs. And among those giving the maximum $50,000 per individual are Soros Fund Management's George Soros and D.E. Shaw Group's David Shaw, leading a large number of hedge fund industry professionals to pay for the inauguration.
The Presidential Inauguration Committee has raised more than $27 million, of which $7.1 million came from those involved in finance, according to the Centre for Responsive Politics. The Soros family alone gave $200,000. Other hedgies (or former hedgies) giving the max include Grosvenor Capital Management's Stephen Malkin and Michael Sacks (and Sacks' wife, Cari), Paloma Partners CEO Donald Sussman and Oaktree Capital Management Chairman Howard Marks."
AIG's Neuger Stepping Down (WSJ)
"Mr. Neuger said in an email that he isn't taking a narrower role but that the sale of the asset-management business necessitates all investment personnel moving to one side of the business or the other. He said he was the founding CEO of that business and it would no longer be possible for one person to fill both roles once it is sold."
Irish Bank Set To Be Nationalized (BBC)
The Irish are some of the most phenomenal people I've ever had the opportunity to live with; their capacity for not giving a shit isn't only commendable but worthy of study. The small island-nation has decided that nationalization is in the better interest of the people than is a bailout: I would be quick to point out that the former is also the best route to full out socialism, whereas the latter merely provides for loss of money.
Money, as it turns out, is so often easier earned back than freedom.
The Bernie Madoff Letter (PacificGatePost)
A dutiful reader emailed this to us this morning, and while we're (mostly) sure it's absolute fraud-- we still need you to weigh in. GTFO or...?

Blackstone Taking A Bath In India (Reuters)
It looks like the PE superstar is facing regional difficulties in Asia; their India portfolio seems to have taken a substantial hit.
Cerberus To Lay Off 10% Of Staff WorldWide (CNBC)
"U.S. private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, majority owner of automaker Chrysler, may cut about 10 percent of its worldwide staff, a source familiar with the situation said on Monday."
If you have any actual numbers on this, email them to us: tips (AT) dealbreaker (DOT) com.
Chrysler To Be Bought By Fiat (NYT)
Fiat, the company internationally known for making reliable easy to work on auto's, is buying part of Chrysler. I can assure you this is a move in the right direction, as the Fiat and Dodge Charger will together will constitute "Best Of Breed."
"In today's economic environment, talks are going on between companies in all industries -- ours is no different," a Chrysler spokeswoman, Lori McTavish, said in a statement. "Chrysler as a matter of policy, however, does not confirm or disclose the nature of its private business meetings."
Brazilians Lost Money in Madoff's Funds, Folha Says (Bloomberg)

Brazilian investors lost "tens of millions" of dollars through banks that put money into Bernard Madoff's funds, Folha de S. Paulo reported, citing David Rosemberg, a lawyer at Orlando, Florida-based Broad and Cassel.
At least 15 individuals and financial advisers in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and other Brazilian cities contacted Rosemberg about their losses, the newspaper said. The clients invested in some Safra banks, Banco Santander SA, UBS AG and Fairfield Greenwich Group and didn't know their money had been directed to Madoff's funds, the newspaper said.
"Brazil, out of all the Latin American countries, was probably hardest hit," Rosemberg said today when contacted by Bloomberg News. "Banks were putting money into Madoff without understanding Madoff's business. There was an element of peer pressure, everyone else was doing it."

2009: The Making Of A President (NYT)
At 11:30 AM ET President Elect Barack Obama and Vice President Elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. are going to be sworn in at the West Front of the United States Capital as the 44th President and Vice President of the United States of America. Ironically, If I remember correctly, the location of Washington D.C. was struck in an accord by Thomas Jefferson so as to negotiate the existence of the Central Bank at a dinner in June, 1790 with some of the most famous men in political history present; Jefferson was prone to migraines and had spent the previous months resting in New York City after returning from his post in France.
To be clear: we won't be tolerating racism or ad hominem attacks on President Elect Obama; any movement on your part in that direction will be met with hostility.