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Originally published Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 9:55 AM

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Hedge fund loses over $350M in Madoff affair

Auriga International Advisers, a hedge fund registered in the British Virgin Islands, has lost over 400 million Swiss francs ($350 million) that were invested with Bernard Madoff, the company's main shareholder said Wednesday.

ZURICH, Switzerland —

Auriga International Advisers, a hedge fund registered in the British Virgin Islands, has lost over 400 million Swiss francs ($350 million) that were invested with Bernard Madoff, the company's main shareholder said Wednesday.

Jacques Rauber, who is described as the majority shareholder of Auriga International Advisers in a 2007 filing to Britain's business register, confirmed reports in Swiss weekly SonntagsZeitung that the company's Auriga International fund was wholly invested in Fairfield Sentry.

That U.S.-based fund, in turn, had invested all its $7.3 billion in assets with Madoff.

Madoff has confessed to losing up to $50 billion in a giant Ponzi scheme and is under house arrest.

"I deeply regret that the investors of Auriga International, to which I too belong, fell victim to this incredible case of fraud," the Zurich-based Rauber was cited as saying in the SonntagsZeitung report Sunday.

The paper also quoted him as saying that another fund, Auriga Alternative Strategies, was affected "to a much lesser extent."

Rauber confirmed the substance of the report in an E-mail to The Associated Press but declined to elaborate.

Information about Auriga's investors was scarce. The company says on its Web site that "clients include both institutional investors and high net worth individuals."

Auriga is licensed to provide financial management services by authorities on the British Virgin Islands, a Caribbean tax haven known for its corporate and banking secrecy.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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