Madoff trustee sues HSBC for $9 bln in U.S. court

Reuters, Monday 6 Dec 2010

The lawyer acting for the victims of Bernie Mdoff is filing a new lawsuit to recover chunks of money stolen by the biggest defrauder ever, who arrested two years ago. So far Picard's team has recovered $1.5 billion.



A lawyer who is searching the globe to recover the money belonging to the defrauded investors of convicted swindler, Bernard Madoff, sued HSBC for $9 billion on Sunday, accusing the bank of enabling the largest financial fraud in history.

Court-appointed trustee Irving Picard accused HSBC of aiding the Madoff fraud, "through the creation, marketing and support of an international network of a dozen feeder-funds based in Europe, the Caribbean and Central America," a statement from Picard said.

The lawsuit in the bankruptcy court in New York, US identifies "feeder funds", management companies and the service providers of those funds.

Among the directors and managers Picard is suing are Sonja Kohn, Genevalor, Mario Benbassat and his sons, Albert and Stephane, Bank Medici and UniCredit, the statement said.

Madoff, 72, is serving a 150-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in March 2009 to running a decades-long investment fraud of up to $65 billion, an unprecedented scheme that shook investor confidence in market regulators.

The trustee, appointed to recoup investor’s money lost to Madoff, sued JP Morgan Chase and Co for $6.4 billion on Thursday, accusing them of ignoring the warning signs to his massive fraud.

"Had HSBC and the defendants reacted appropriately to warnings and other obvious signs of fraud outlined in the complaint, the Madoff-Ponzi scheme would have collapsed years ago,  with billions of dollars and countless victims saved sooner," Picard continued  in the statement.

A Ponzi scheme is one in which early investors are paid with the deposits of new clients.

Picard has filed hundreds of lawsuits in the past week, in addition to others in the past year. The trustee must file such lawsuits to recover money within a two-year time frame of Madoff's arrest and his firm's demise on 11 December, 2008.  So far, Picard's team claims it has recovered $1.5 billion.

HSBC has refused to comment

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