Madoff Trustee Can't Stop Feeder Fund Settlement

Apr 16 2013 | 1:17pm ET

A federal judge slapped down the court-appointed trustee in the Bernard Madoff case, blocking his bid to stop a settlement between New York State and a major Madoff feeder fund manager.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said Irving Picard waited too long before moving to prevent New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's lawsuit against J. Ezra Merkin. That suit was settled for $410 million last year.

"The trustee unreasonably and inexcusably slept on his rights," Rakoff ruled, noting that the delay hurt Merkin, his investors and the New York State courts.

"The trustee, however, having for more than three years issued empty threats to seek a halt to the attorney general's suit, has lost his right to complain," Rakoff wrote. "Even on the merits, moreover, his bluster proves to be without substance."

Picard, who is seeking $500 million from Merkin, said he would appeal Rakoff's decision, which a spokeswoman called "incorrect and contrary to law."

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