The two-year statute of limitations for such suits, which passed last Saturday, prompted the court-appointed Madoff trustee, Irving Picard, to begin filing last-minute lawsuits against a raft of big banks, advisors and family members in the last fortnight. By Richard Quest, CNN anchor/ correspondent in an exclusive column for domain-b
The scandal surrounding Bernard Madoff and his $60 billion Ponzi scheme is back in the news with the tragic death last week of Mark Madoff, the eldest son of the fraudster. He committed suicide by hanging himself in his New York apartment after sending several tortured emails complaining that no-one believed him.
Madoff senior is in Butner Prison of course, serving a 150-year life sentence, and according to New York Magazine earlier this year is treated like a celebrity, ''even if his admirers were now murderers and sex offenders.'' Apparently his ego remains pretty much intact and now free from hiding his crimes, admits to defrauding billions.
In the past fortnight, the court-appointed Madoff trustee, Irving Picard, was unusually busy, filing last-minute lawsuits against a raft of big banks, advisors and family members.
The two-year statute of limitations for such suits passed last Saturday. It was now or never. So Picard launched a plethora of actions, including one against HSBC for $9 billion in damages.
Picard's claim is that HSBC ignored the obvious (statements with wrong details, wrong names for funds, transactions settled on non-working days) red flags that should have told them something was wrong. The fees they received from Madoff and the feeder funds were ''kickbacks ensuring they looked the other way.'' HSBC says it will defend the lawsuit vigorously.
Other banks such as Citibank and J P Morgan Chase are also being sued pretty much along the same lines. All-in-all Picard is suing to receive up to $20 billion from several financial institutions, all of whom deny any wrongdoing.