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Tough SEC watchdog chief to leave

The inspector general for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is leaving his position after four years, during which he put the US government agency under harsh scrutiny and exposed serious lapses in detecting or pursuing major fraud schemes.

The SEC said David Kotz would leave at the end of January to become a managing director of Gryphon Strategies, a private investigative firm.

One of Mr Kotz's investigations found that the agency bungled its examinations of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff over 16 years, allowing him to carry on his estimated £13 billion investment fraud until December 2008.

With a series of investigations, Mr Kotz unearthed problems and conflicts at the SEC that stirred attention in the US Congress - a stark contrast from his predecessor.

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