The huge fraud perpetrated by Bernard Madoff has claimed another financially savvy victim. Felix Posen, a former business partner of commodities trader Marc Rich, has reportedly lost part of his Swiss-based philanthropic fund through investment in funds linked to Madoff.
Posen, who lives in Britain, is deeply involved in philanthropic activities in Israel, and is considered one of the central contributors to Jewish culture worldwide. He serves as the president of the Posen Foundation, which is managed by his son Daniel. The fund, which is financed by the family, donates millions of dollars to educational institutions in Israel every year and to projects that promote the concept of Jewish secular culture all over the world.
The Posen Foundation continues to operate, but has suspended some payments for new projects until March, when its directors will meet to assess the situation. Posen's wealth was estimated in 2008 by the Sunday Times at some 150 million pounds sterling. Posen is believed to have lost a large portion of his own money invested in the foundation, both through investment in funds related to Madoff and as a result of the economic crisis.
Nevertheless, his son Daniel Posen told TheMarker that although sadly, many philanthropic efforts had been adversely affected, the losses incurred by the Posen family's foundation are not crippling. He added that the family was not considering suspension of the foundation's activities altogether, but it would be taking time to consider how to continue operations in the current difficult times. Some of its activities originally planned for 2009 may be delayed until 2010, and the fund may have to cut down its activities for a few years until the problem is resolved, he said.
Among its may projects in Israel, the Posen Foundation has contributed to funding the establishment of the Center for Study of Anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University and was one of the founders of Alma Hebrew College in Tel Aviv and Meitar in Jerusalem, which operates school programs for the study of Jewish identity.
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