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Seizure of more property belonging to Madoff expected

Federal marshals arrived at the $9.3 million five bedroom Palm Beach mansion in Florida this week in order to secure the property, conduct an inventory of its contents and change the locks, a spokesman said.

'We have secured the property, changed all the locks on the house and we are taking a complete inventory,' said Barry Golden of the US Marshals Service.

They also seized his 55 foot yacht, Bull, reported to be worth about $2 million and a smaller boat, named Little Bull, in two marinas on Florida's east coast.

His wife, Ruth, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing, could also lose property that is in her name. Prosecutors have said they will pursue her assets as part of the seizure notice. Madoff's lawyers have previously indicated that his wife is entitled to keep $69 million worth of items in her name.

As well as the Florida home, official documents also mention the fraudster's holiday homes at Juan-les-Pins in the south of France, a 75 foot yacht, also called Bull in a nearby marina and another property further along the French coast at Cap d'Antibes.

The couple's plush $7 million apartment in Manhattan could also be seized along with a grand piano owned by Mrs Madoff worth $39,000 and silverware totalling $65,000. The couple's fleet of cars are also to be seized, prosecutors announced.

Madoff is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in New York last month to running a massive $65 billion pyramid scheme that defrauded thousands of investors. He faces life in prison.

The news comes as the authorities in the US state of Massachusetts filed civil fraud charges against a feeder fund known as Fairfield Greenwich Group which was linked to Madoff.

A judge in the US state of Connecticut has also frozen the assets of Madoff's sons and five top hedge fund industry officials.