Austrian banker Kohn was Madoff "victim" – lawyer

VIENNA, Dec 12 (BestGrowthStock) – Austrian banker Sonja Kohn,
accused in a U.S. lawsuit of being Bernard Madoff’s “criminal
soul mate”, was instead a victim of the man behind the biggest
fraud in financial history, her lawyer in Vienna said.

The U.S. trustee seeking money for people cheated in
Madoff’s decades-long multibillion dollar fraud sued Kohn and
the bank she founded, Bank Medici, as well as Italy’s UniCredit
(CRID.MI: ) and its unit, Bank Austria, and 53 other defendants on
Friday.

The litigation seeks to recover $19.6 billion in damages.
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Kohn’s attorney Andreas Theiss reiterated his client’s
assertions that she did no wrong.

“The allegations in the lawsuit have nothing to do with
reality,” he told the Austria Press Agency late on Saturday.

“Nothing has changed. Mrs Kohn and the former Bank Medici
are victims of Mr Madoff.”

He said he had “no idea” where his client was now. Since the
Madoff “catastrophe” she has been active in the renewable energy
field and is often on business trips, he was quoted as saying.

Another of her Austrian lawyers, Wolfgang Brandstetter, told
Reuters the most recent allegations were “not new and have long
been known to the Austrian authorities”.

The complaint filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York
claimed that $9.1 billion of stolen money was directly
attributable to Kohn, her relatives and a labyrinth of feeder
funds and banks in Austria, Italy and Gibraltar.

It said Kohn presented herself to potential investors as
Madoff’s close friend.

Bank Austria plans to contest “vigorously” the lawsuit
linking it to Madoff’s fraud, the bank said on Saturday.
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(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Jon Hemming)

Austrian banker Kohn was Madoff "victim" – lawyer