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£4.6bn boost for Madoff investors

The trustee recovering money for Bernard Madoff's cheated investors has reached a 7.2 billion US dollar (£4.6 billion) settlement with the estate of a Florida philanthropist who had been the single-largest beneficiary of the fraud.

The settlement with the estate of Jeffry Picower was detailed in court papers in Manhattan, New York.

US lawyer Preet Bharara called it "a truly historic settlement" and a "game changer for Madoff's victims".

Barbara Picower, representing her late husband's estate, entered into the agreement with the US lawyer's office.

She said in a statement that her husband was "in no way complicit" with Madoff's fraud and added that the estate would "return every penny received" through Madoff investments.

Mr Picower drowned after suffering a heart attack in the swimming pool of his Florida mansion in 2009.

Madoff, the disgraced financier, is serving a 150-year sentence after confessing to the biggest investment fraud in US history, a decades-long Ponzi scheme that took billions from investors.

His eldest son Mark Madoff, 46, hanged himself last week on the second anniversary of his father's arrest.

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