Hi, I am looking at inclusion of discrete groups $H\subset G$ such that $H$ is abelian and $(hgh^{1},h\in H)$ is infinite if $g\in GH$. If you have this, $LH\subset LG$ is a maximal abelian subalgebra of a finite von Neumann algebra. Suppose that $LH\subset LG$ is a Cartan subalgebra, i.e. the group of unitary of $LG$ that normalize the algebra $LH$ generates $LG$. Do we have necessarily that $H$ is a normal subgroup of $G$? Thanks for your help.

This is true, and in fact more has been shown in the recent preprint http://arxiv.org/abs/1005.3049 of Fang, Gao, and Smith. One can also give the following alternative argument based on ideas of Popa: If $LH \subset LG$ is a MASA then it follows from the condition $ ( hgh^{1} \  \ h \in H ) = \infty$ for all $g \in G \setminus H$, that the normalizer of $H$ in $G$ is the same as the set of elements $g \in G$ such that $[H: H \cap gHg^{1}] < \infty$. (This set is not in general closed under inversion but in this case it is since it coincides with the normalizer.) Suppose we fix $g \in G$ such that $[H: H \cap gHg^{1}] = \infty$ and let's show that $u_g$ is orthogonal to $\mathcal N_{LG}(LH)''$. Since $\mathcal N_{LG}(LH)''$ is spanned by $\mathcal N_{LG}(LH)$ it is enought to show that $u_g$ is orthogonal to this set and so let's fix $v \in \mathcal N_{LG}(LH)$. Before we show that $u_g$ and $v$ are orthogonal let's rewrite the condition $[H: H \cap gHg^{1}] = \infty$ in a more von Neumann algebraic friendly context which states that there are always "large" subalgebras of $LH$ which are almost moved orthogonal to $LH$. Lemma: For all $n \in \mathbb N, \delta > 0$ there exists a finite dimensional subalgebra $A_0 \subset LH$ such that if $p$ is any minimal projection in $A_0$ then $\tau(p) = 1/2^n$ and $ \langle x, u_g^* p u_g  \tau(p) \rangle  < \delta \x \_2$ for all $x \in LH$. Proof. This essentially follows from Popa's intertwining techniques since the condition $[H: H \cap gHg^{1}] = \infty$ translates in this context to $LH \not\prec_{LH} L(H \cap gHg^{1})$ (See Popa's paper http://www.ams.org/mathscinetgetitem?mr=2231961). Let's show this by induction on $n$. For the case when $n = 1$ consider the group $\mathcal G = ( u \in \mathcal U(LH) \  \ u = 1  2p, p \in \mathcal P(LH), \tau(p) = 1/2 ) \cup (1)$. Since $\mathcal G$ generates $LH$ as a von Neumann algebra and since $LH \not\prec_{LH} L(H \cap gHg^{1})$ it follows from Popa's intertwining Theorem that there exists a sequence $p_k \in \mathcal P(LH)$ with $\tau(p_k) = 1/2$ such that $\lim_{k \to \infty} \ E_{L(H \cap gHg^{1})}(1  2p_k ) \_2 = 0$ (see Popa, op. cit.). In particular, for some $k$ this is less than $2\delta$ and so if $x \in LH$, $\ x \_2 < 1$ we have $ \langle x, u_g^*p_ku_g  \tau(p) \rangle  \leq \ E_{LH}(u_g^* p u_g  \tau(p) ) \$ $_2 = \ E_{L(H \cap gHg^{1})} (p_k  1/2) \_2 < \delta$. The same inequality holds for the other minimal projection $1  p_k$. Once we have produced such an $A_0$ for $1/2^n$ then given any minimal projection $p \in A_0$ we again have that $pLH \not\prec_{pLH} pL(H \cap gHg^*)$ and so the argument above shows that there exists $p_1$ and $p_2$ in $\mathcal P(LH)$ such that $p_1 + p_2 = p$, each has half the trace and $ \langle x, u_g^* p_j u_g  \tau(p_j) \rangle  < \delta$. This proves the induction step. QED Now that we have established the above lemma, the fact that $u_g$ and $v$ are orthogonal follows from a lemma of Popa's in http://www.ams.org/mathscinetgetitem?mr=703810. Let's give the proof here. Let $\varepsilon > 0$ be given and take $n \in \mathbb N$ such that $1/2^n < \varepsilon/2$. From the above lemma let's consider a finite dimensional subalgebra $A_0 \subset LH$ such that if $p$ is any minimal projection in $A_0$ then $\tau(p) = 1/2^n$ and $ \langle x, u_g^*pu_g  \tau(p) \rangle  < \ x \_2 \varepsilon/2^{n + 1}$. Let's denote the minimal projections in $A_0$ by $p_k$ where $1 \leq k \leq 2^n$. Denote by $B_0$ the commutant of $A_0$ in $LG$. Since $v \in \mathcal N_{LG}(LH)$ we have that $vLHv^* = LH$, hence $v^* p_k v \in LH$ for each $k$. Therefore $ \langle v, u_g \rangle ^2 \leq \ E_{B_0} ( vu_g^*) \_2^2$ $= \ $ $\Sigma_k$ $ p_k v u_g^* p_k \_2^2 = \Sigma_k \langle v^* p_k v, u_g^* p_k u_g \rangle < (\Sigma_k \tau(p_k)^2 ) + \Sigma_k \varepsilon/2^{n + 1} < \varepsilon$. Since $\varepsilon$ was arbitrary we conclude that $u_g$ and $v$ are orthogonal. Hence since $v$ was arbitrary we conclude that $\mathcal N_{LG}(LH)'' = L(\mathcal N_G(H))$. 


So I don't think it is known in full generallity but there are some partial results. For example if additionally we assume that for any $c,d\in G\setminus H$ the stabilizer subgroups are either equal of noncommensurable then it is true. Much of the results rely on the Pukanzki invarient for $L(H)$ (and if $L(H)$ is cartan then the invarient is {1}), which in some cases you can calculate by the number of leftright cosets. This is mostly from memory, but Sinclair and Smith have a book "Finite von Neumann algebras and MASAS", and there is a chapter about the pukanzki invarient and masas coming from groups. So check that as well as references therein 


EDIT: On rereading the question, I see that I misread 'at' as 'for' in the first line. This led me to read the first line as a question. Apologies! My answer is retracted. 

