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Bernie: Ruth Madoff should keep apartment

Madoff's wife, who is not accused of any wrongdoing, should keep $70 million in assets, including a New York City apartment, disgraced financier's lawyers say.

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Lawyers for disgraced financier Bernard Madoff say his wife, Ruth, should be allowed to keep nearly $70 million worth of assets held in her name, including the New York City apartment where Mr. Madoff is currently under house arrest, because they are "unrelated" to the alleged Ponzi scheme.

Federal prosecutors noted the claim in court papers filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. The prosecutors asked the judge to rule on how they should proceed with the Madoff's assets under the federal forfeiture law.

According to the documents, Madoff and his legal team say only Ruth Madoff has "a beneficial ownership" to the $7 million Manhattan penthouse and approximately $45 million in municipal bonds on deposit at COHMAD Securities Corporation and about $17 million more at Wachovia Bank. They also maintain that these assets are "unrelated to the alleged Madoff fraud," according to the papers.

Ira Sorkin, the lawyers for Madoff and his wife, did not immediately return a request for comment.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney's Office, Rebekah Carmichael, as well as Irving Picard, the trustee overseeing liquidation of the Madoff's investment firm, both declined comment.

Last month, Massachusetts regulators said Ruth Madoff withdrew $15.5 million from a Madoff-related brokerage firm in the weeks before her husband's arrest for securities fraud, including $10 million on the eve of his arrest.

Ruth Madoff hasn't been accused of any wrongdoing. To top of page

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