Madoff victim sues French bank over losses
A former French air stewardess took bank Societe Generale to court on Wednesday demanding it reimburse and compensate her for allowing her to fall victim to Bernard Madoff's multi-billion dollar Wall Street fraud.
Isabelle de la Seigliere is asking the court in Paris to order the bank to repay her the 110,000 euros ($150,000) in savings she lost and another 100,000 euros in damages, in the first such suit in France involving the legacy of Madoff's crimes.
Seigliere invested funds she had received from Air France after a workplace accident in Luxalpha, a former Luxembourg-based fund that handled some of Madoff's investments.
The fund was unable to repay her following the 2008 collapse of Madoff's scheme, which saw him secretly steal clients' capital to pay back steady returns in phony profits. Madoff, 74, is serving a 150-year prison sentence over the fraud.
Seigliere's lawyer, Simone Daul, told the court as the trial opened that Societe Generale, which handled her finances, "had the means to avoid this catastrophic investment" and should have advised her against it.
The bank's lawyer, Antoine Maffei, said Societe Generale was unaware of Luxalpha's connection to Madoff and had "perfectly met all its commitments" in the case.
A ruling is expected on March 29.
© 2013 AFP