Settlements, New Lawsuits Among Flurry Of Madoff Activity

Dec 7 2010 | 6:21pm ET

It was another busy day for the court-appointed receiver in the Bernard Madoff case. Irving Picard continued to file a flurry of last-minute lawsuits against Madoff investors and firms that did business with the arch-Ponzi schemer even as he had some concrete good news for the victims who lost some $20 billion in the scam.

Picard and federal prosecutors announced a settlement of charges against Boston billionaire and philanthropist Carl Shapiro. Under the deal, which resolves Picard's claim against the 97-year-old's family, the longtime Madoff friend will pay $625 million. Shapiro and his charitable foundation lost hundreds of millions of dollars when Madoff's scam collapsed.

The deal with Shapiro and the agreement struck yesterday with Union Bancaire Privée has, at a stroke, nearly doubled the amount that Picard has recovered for Madoff victims. UBP will pay between $470 million and $500 million; all told, Picard has recouped about $2.6 billion for Madoff victims.

Meanwhile, with the deadline for lawsuits stemming from the Madoff case fast approaching—it is Saturday, the two-year anniversary of Madoff's arrest—Picard continued to file cases against Madoff's bankers and investors. The latest to find themselves on the wrong side of the receiver are Legacy Capital and BNP Paribas Securities Corp., which took control of the firm in 2004.

Both Legacy and BNP Paribas were aware that something was afoot at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities but went ahead with their investments and transfers, anyway, the lawsuit alleges. According to Picard, Legacy received some $89.3 billion in phony profits and BNP Paribas $175 million in fraudulent transfers.

Picard also filed a clawback suit against New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon and his Sterling Equities, as well as other Wilpon family members and others affiliated with the baseball team. While the Wilpons are thought to have lost hundreds of millions of dollars with Madoff, Picard said they withdrew $48 million more than the $523 million they invested.

The Wilpon-Sterling suit was filed under seal, as Picard said he is "currently engaged in good-faith negotiations with the Sterling defendants."


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