Madoff fund lawyer sues BNP for $1 bn

4th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

The liquidator of the collapsed Madoff Ponzi scheme has sued French bank BNP Paribas to recover nearly $1 billion he says BNP may have gotten from the investment fund, court papers showed Friday.

Irving Picard, charged with trying to recover some of the tens of billions of dollars that former Wall Street fund manager Bernard Madoff bilked from investors, filed the suit Thursday in a New York court.

The court filing said Picard was seeking to recover money transferred to a unit of the French bank, BNP Paribas Arbitrage, by Harley International (Cayman) Ltd, a so-called "feeder fund" that handled money moving to and from Madoff's operation.

"Based on the trustee's investigation to date, approximately $975,460,092 of the money transferred from (the Madoff group) to Harley was subsequently transferred by Harley to defendant BNP Arbitrage," Picard's filing said.

Madoff, now in prison on a 150-year sentence, took in some $65 billion in savings from thousands of clients over decades, building a reputation as a shrewd investment manager by paying out fake "profits" to some investors from the new cash of others.

In fact, he had made few of the investments and none of the profits he had been reporting to clients, who included families, charities, major banks, Hollywood moguls and savvy financial players.

The pyramid, or Ponzi, fraud scheme collapsed in 2008, wiping out numerous family fortunes, and Picard has been tasked with recovering as much of the money as possible for investors.

© 2011 AFP

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