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To date, Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee in charge of liquidating Bernard Madoff’s former hedge fund empire, has recovered around US$2bn for victims of the fraud. His latest victory, announced yesterday, is a US$500m settlement with Union Bancaire Privée, a Swiss private bank.
Three other suits filed in recent weeks could net Mr Madoff’s former clients much, much more. On November 24th, the trustee filed a US$2bn suit against UBS, alleging misconduct and “collaboration in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme.” On December 2nd, a suit seeking more than US$6bn was lodged against JPMorgan for allegedly “aiding and abetting Madoff’s fraud”. Most recently, a US$9bn suit was launched against HSBC on December 5th. Announcements of all suits and settlements can be found here; UBS, JPMorgan and HSBC all deny the claims.
The trustee’s 173-page complaint claims that HSBC was “always willing to play the lapdog” to Madoff. In filling in the details, the plaintiff unravels the byzantine structures of “feeder funds” linked to Mr Madoff’s firm. Mr Picard has filed suits seeking some US$35bn in damages, and some are growing bullish on his prospects for recovery.
Update (December 9th): Another seven banks were sued on Wednesday.