Madoff Trustee Seeks Supreme Sanction For Bank Suits

Oct 10 2013 | 8:50am ET

The trustee in the Bernard Madoff case isn't giving up on his bid to collect some $30 billion from the Ponzi schemer's banks.

Irving Picard yesterday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider his appeal of a lower-court ruling that barred him from suing a host of banks, including JPMorgan Chase. The federal appeals court in Manhattan in June upheld the district-court judge's that Picard does not have standing to sue the banks, ruling that as the receiver for Madoff's firm, he "stands in the shoes" of the arch-fraudster.

Picard's lawyers said that the ruling creates a circuit split, in which different federal appeals courts have reached different conclusions. The Supreme Court, which hears only a tiny fraction of the appeals presented to it, is often swayed to do so by such contradictory precedents.

Picard also argues that the ruling has unsettling effects on the Securities Investor Protection Act.

"If this decision is allowed to stand, the law governing SIPA liquidations will be in turmoil, making collaboration with future Madoffs risk-free for big financial institutions," David Rivkin, a lawyer for the reciever, wrote. "In other words, the bad guys win."

In addition to $21 billion from JPMorgan and UBS, Picard also sought $8.8 billion from HSBC and UniCredit Bank Austria.

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