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NY judge extends freeze on Peter Madoff's assets

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A judge extended a temporary freeze on the assets of Peter Madoff, brother of jailed swindler Bernard Madoff, on Friday, but agreed that he could have $10,000 a month in expenses.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Stephen Bucaria, ruling in a civil lawsuit against Peter Madoff on suburban Long Island, said he must also preserve all records and pay attorney fees. He extended his previous order of March 25 until May 8.

The lawsuit in Mineola, New York, over $478,000 in inheritance money lost to the Madoff fraud, charged that Peter Madoff as chief compliance officer of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC had full knowledge of the Ponzi scheme.

On March 12, Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty to running the biggest investment fraud in Wall Street history, which prosecutors have said drew in as much as $65 billion over at least 20 years. The only other person charged is the firm’s outside accountant.

Another judge on Tuesday rejected an appeal against the freeze. During that hearing, it was disclosed that Peter Madoff had voluntarily agreed with the U.S. government to an asset freeze with $10,000 for monthly expenses on December 24, about two weeks after his brother’s arrest.

“My client is absolutely happy with the ruling keeping the temporary order in place,” said Steven Schlesinger, the lawyer for Andrew Ross Samuels, 22, a student who sued Peter Madoff over inheritance money his grandfather entrusted to Madoff. “This is a court order that he cannot break, unlike the agreement with the U.S. government, which was voluntary.”

A lawyer for Peter Madoff did not return calls for comment.

The case is Andrew Ross Samuels v Peter B. Madoff 09-5534 the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Nassau.

Reporting by Grant McCool; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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