France seizes Madoff yacht on Riviera
French investment firm who falls victim to US fraudster Bernard Madoff is trying to recuperate some of its losses by getting a court to seize Madoff’s properties.ANTIBES – French authorities have seized a yacht belonging to the jailed US fraudster Bernard Madoff and are preventing it from leaving its mooring at the chic Riviera resort of Antibes.
A note to this effect was posted on the hull of the 27-metre yacht Bull registered in the Cayman Islands, an AFP reporter in Antibes said.
The seizure came after a local court agreed to a request by French investment firm Meeschaert, which had ploughed several million euros into Madoff's multi-billion-dollar scheme and is now trying to get some of it back.
"This action is just one stage in the legal battle we have been waging since December to gain reparation for our clients cheated by Bernard Madoff's fraudulent actions," the firm said in a statement.
Madoff and his wife also own a villa in the Antibes area worth an estimated USD 1 million (EUR 743,000), according to a lawyer for the New York official liquidator of Madoff's assets.
US federal prosecutors last week seized yachts and luxury property in Florida and New York belonging to Madoff and said they would be sold in aid of his victims.
Madoff was arrested 11 December. He pleaded guilty and was jailed in March and now faces a prison term of up to 150 years when sentenced in June.
He had run a pyramid scheme that collapsed when his clients asked to withdraw their capital in late 2008.
Three preliminary investigations have been opened in France following complaints from investors here who say they were conned by Madoff.
AFP / Expatica