Madoff Prison Letter Rails Against Insider Trading, Lack of Financial Transparency

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Bernie Madoff is not surprised. Or impressed.

In a Christmas Eve letter from the medium security federal prison where he is serving a 150-year sentence, Madoff tells CNBC that insider trading has been around "forever."

Bernie Madoff Mug Shot

He also rails against what he calls a lack of transparency in the financial markets, and says the growth of hedge funds is forcing market players to take outsized risks.

You know, in case you wanted his opinion.

Convicted Ponzi scheme artist Madoff has granted only a handful of interviews since he went to prison in 2009 following a shocking and epic downfall.

More recently, he has declined to speak on the record about his case. But he was willing to share some views about U.S. financial markets via e-mail.

Before confessing four years ago this month to the largest investment scam in U.S. history, Madoff was prominent in the financial community.

He served as a non-executive chairman of the NASDAQ, and amazingly, his firm was once among the largest market makers on Wall Street.

"(O)ne would be led to believe that with the recent spate of insider trading prosecution that insider trading is a new development," Madoff writes.

"This is false," the 74-year-old says. "It has been present in the market forever, but rarely prosecuted. The same can be said of front running of orders."

Front running refers to the illegal practice of brokers using knowledge of their customers' pending orders to trade for their own accounts first.

Madoff says markets are suffering from what he calls a "lack of transparency" created by the growth of so-called "dark pools" arrangements.

Follow the above link for more of his thoughts on the subject ... if you really want.