The trustee liquidating Bernard L. Madoff’s investment firm has filed more than $50 billion in so- called clawback suits to compensate victims of the con man’s fraud since his 2008 arrest for masterminding the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history.
Irving Picard filed hundreds of lawsuits against banks, feeder funds, investors and others alleged to have profited from Madoff’s decades-long crime. Among those sued was Madoff’s son Mark, who hung himself in his Manhattan apartment Dec. 11, the two-year anniversary of his father’s arrest.
The deadline for Picard to file claims expired that day. So far, he has recovered about $2.5 billion. Last week, he sued Bank Medici AG and its founder, Sonja Kohn, as well as Bank Austria, UniCredit SpA and dozens of other parties. He is seeking $19.6 billion from them, which could potentially triple to $58.8 billion under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. It’s the biggest claim filed by Picard.
Kohn, 62, whom Picard called Madoff’s “criminal soul mate,” used a relationship with the financier that began in 1985 to help build the Vienna-based bank, feeding more than $9.1 billion of investor money into his company, Picard said in a complaint last week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.
“The illegal scheme enriched Kohn, her family, and scores of other individuals and entities, including the largest banks in Austria and Italy, at the expense of the BLMIS estate and on the backs of Madoff’s victims,” Picard said in court papers, referring to Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.