Irate Investors Seek To Stop Santander Compensation Plan

Feb 4 2009 | 1:48am ET

Investors in Banco Santander’s Bernard Madoff-burned hedge funds are suing to block the Spanish bank’s plan to make them whole.

Investors in Optimal Asset Management’s Strategic U.S. Equity Fund asked a federal judge in Miami to stop Santander’s plan to compensate them until the issue of the bank’s responsibility for the losses has been resolved, Reuters reports. A group of Optimal investors sued Santander last week, alleging it failed to do proper due-diligence on its Madoff investments.

Santander has given its investors until tomorrow to accept its compensation offer, which totals €1.38 billion (US$1.82 billion) in preferential shares with an annual coupon of 2%.

Labaton Sucharow, the U.S. partner of Spanish law firm Cremades & Calvo Sotelo, served the papers in a Florida court on Friday. Cremades’ Jose Luis Gonzalez Montes told Reuters that the court has not responded to the injunction.

“The vast majority of the investors we represent are not very happy with the offer,” he said.

Optimal said last week that it would liquidate seven of its hedge funds.

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