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Write-Offs: 02.23.11

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$$$ The SEC has moved to quash speculation that its top lawyer decided to step down because he is being sued as part of a "clawback" lawsuit by the trustee seeking to recover assets on behalf of victims of Bernard Madoff's fraud. The surprise decision by David Becker to return to the private sector, announced at the start of this month, caused widespread speculation within the agency. "It stunned everyone—we're wondering what he knows that we don't," said one senior member of staff. The lawsuit seeks to recover assets from the estate of Mr. Becker's mother, which allegedly received $1.54 million in fictitious profits from Mr. Madoff's firm. [WSJ]

$$$Abby Joseph Cohen: Opportunities Exist in Markets Spooked by Mideast [CNBC]

$$$Former Third Point and Brahman Capital pros sets up hedge fund [HFMWeek]

$$$Li'l Jon And Gary Busey To Appear As Contestants On The Apprentice [NBC]

$$$Our 1-Year Anniversary [Stone Street Advisors]

$$$Porsche, Volkswagen Merger Faces Delay on Share Probe [Bloomberg]

$$$ Libya pressed oil firms to reimburse terror costs [Reuters]