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Judge approves release of Madoff assets

Bank agrees to transfer more than $28 million to the federally appointed trustees presiding over the liquidation of the accused swindler's investment firm.

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- A federal bankruptcy judge Tuesday approved the release of more than $28 million in assets belonging to accused swindler Bernard Madoff to pay for the administrative costs related to his case.

Madoff is accused of bilking investors out of some $50 billion through a Ponzi scheme that he allegedly ran through his investment advisory business.

According to papers filed in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan on Friday, the Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (BK, Fortune 500) has agreed to transfer the money to the federally appointed trustees presiding over the liquidation of Madoff's investment firm.

The court papers said that $883,000 had already been transferred to the trustees to pay employees' salaries and health care benefits.

According to representatives for the trustees, the funds are needed to pay employee salaries and other costs.

The trustee would also sell off assets to recover funds for the investors who lost money held by Madoff, the trustees' representative Richard Bernard told the court on Tuesday.

"This is the first step of many to recover assets," Bernard said.

Bernard told Judge Burton Lifland that the trustees do not yet know the full number of accounts held by Madoff.

"We're looking everywhere for all assets," Bernard added. He said that none of the funds for the trustees administration would come from former investors of Madoff.

Bernard told the court that the estate requires funding so the trustee can sell off assets to recover funds for investors who lost money held by Madoff.

Madoff remains in his Manhattan apartment under 24-hour house arrest. His $10 million bail was secured by properties owned by Madoff and his wife, including the Manhattan apartment and a Palm Beach estate.

-- CNN's George Lerner contributed to this report To top of page

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