Factbox: Madoff trustee’s major lawsuits over epic fraud

NEW YORK (BestGrowthStock) – The trustee seeking to recoup money from Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is suing hundreds of individuals, banks and funds around the world that he asserts benefited improperly from the epic fraud.

Cases filed by court-appointed trustee Irving Picard seek a total of more than $50 billion, including a $19.6 billion claim against Austrian banker Sonja Kohn.

Hundreds of complaints were filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York in the weeks before the statute of limitations expired on the two-year anniversary of Madoff’s December 11, 2008, arrest and collapse of his firm.

About $2.6 billion has been recovered, mostly through settlements with funds and individuals. The money will go to victims of the fraud.

The following are some of the notable cases:

* Picard sued Austrian banker Sonja Kohn and the bank she founded, Bank Medici, as well as Italy’s UniCredit and its unit, Bank Austria, and 53 other defendants seeking $19.6 billion. The trustee accused Kohn of having a central role in Madoff’s crimes by operating a labyrinth of feeder funds and banks in Austria, Italy and Gibraltar.

* Picard seeks $9 billion in recovery and damages from HSBC and its related feeder funds in Europe, South America and the Caribbean.

* Sued Madoff friend and associate Jeffry Picower for $7.2 billion. Picower, said to be the main beneficiary of the fraud, later died of a heart attack in his Florida swimming pool at the age of 67. The case has yet to be resolved.

* Madoff’s primary banker for 20 years, JPMorgan Chase, was sued for $6.5 billion over accusations it “enabled” the fraud.

* Fairfield Greenwich Group hedge fund firm and individuals liable for more than $3.6 billion, trustee says.

* Picard sues Swiss bank UBS AG and some of its associates, saying they collaborated in the scheme and are liable for $2.5 billion.

* Seven banks were sued for $1 billion — Citigroup Inc’s Citibank, Natixis, Fortis Prime Fund Solutions Bank (Ireland) Ltd, ABN AMRO Bank N.V., Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, Nomura and Merrill Lynch, owned by Bank of America since January 1, 2009.

* Harley International Ltd, a Cayman Islands-based fund, was ordered by a U.S. judge to pay $1.07 billion after it failed to defend itself against the trustee’s lawsuit.

* Hollywood money manager Stanley Chais, sued by Picard for $1.1 billion, died at age 84 in September before case was resolved.

* In separate lawsuits, Picard sued Madoff’s wife, Ruth Madoff, his brother Peter, sons Andrew and Mark and niece Shana for a total of $244 million.

* Dozens of relatives of Madoff family members and former employees of the firm are also being sued by Picard’s team of lawyers at Baker & Hostetler law firm.

* Carl Shapiro — the 97-year-old clothing entrepreneur and friend of Madoff who invested hundreds of millions of dollars with Madoff since 1961 and withdrew even more — agreed to forfeit $625 million.

* Legacy Capital, BNP Paribas and Khronos Capital Research sued by Picard. British Virgin Islands-based investment firm Legacy, whose accounts were taken over by French bank BNP in 2004, received at least $255.8 million from Madoff’s firm, according to Picard.

* Trustee seeks $205 million from feeder fund Cohmad Securities Corp run by Madoff friend Maurice Cohn.

* Demands unspecified recovery and damages from Tremont Group Holdings, a multibillion-dollar money-management company, owned by Oppenheimer Acquisition Corp.

* Lawsuit against Sandra Manzke and her family members, Maxam Capital Management LLC and related funds seeks $100 million.

* Madoff Securities International Ltd, Madoff’s London branch, and its directors sued for $80 million in joint lawsuit by Picard and British firm’s liquidator in High Court of Justice Commercial Court.

* Fred Wilpon — owner of the New York Mets Major League Baseball team, of which Madoff was a lifelong fan — was sued along with his firm Sterling Equities and other defendants.

* Picard sues Blue Star Investors LLC, an affiliate of private equity executive Thomas H. Lee. Says defendants received $51.75 million from Madoff’s firm, of which $19.67 million represented “fictitious profits.

(Reporting by Grant McCool in New York, Laurence Fletcher in London and Martin de Sa’Pinto in Zurich)

Factbox: Madoff trustee’s major lawsuits over epic fraud