Madoff Trustee Files Suit Against Seven Banks for $1 Billion

Irving Picard, the trustee trying to recover money on behalf of the victims of Bernie Madoff, said he filed lawsuits against seven global banks seeking total compensation of more than $1 billion.

Picard filed complaints against Citibank (C), Natixis SA, Fortis, ABN AMRO Bank, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), Nomura and Merrill Lynch, which is now part of Bank of America Corp. (BAC), Reuters reported.

The trustee says that the complaints allege the banks received money from Madoff's feeder funds when they knew or should have known about his fraud.

"The complaints allege that the banks enabled the Madoff Ponzi scheme by opening a spigot of new money into the Madoff feeder fund network, by creating and offering derivative investment products linked to various Madoff feeder funds," Picard said in a statement.

Picard has filed a series of lawsuits in recent weeks in a bid to win compensation for those who lost money with Madoff. He has taken aim at banks that did business with Madoff's firm as well as investors who profited from their involvement with the company.

Madoff is currently serving a 150-year prison sentence for operating the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history.

The sealed complaints were filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York.

None of the banks were available for comment to Reuters.

Of the more than $1 billion that the lawsuits are seeking to recover from the banks, $425 million would come from Citibank. The compensation is related to a credit facility and a swap transaction that the bank provided Madoff feeder funds.

"Armed with considerable non-public information about Madoff, Citi either knew or should have known that Madoff's investment advisory business was a fake, and that the funds Citi received from these two Madoff feeder funds came from Madoff's fraudulent activities," Picard said.

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