Papers were filed in London in a bid to recover at least 80 million dollars (£50.6 million) from the international arm of jailed financier Bernard Madoff’s business, the trustee recovering assets for investors said.
Irving Picard said the case was filed in the High Court of Justice Commercial Court to recover funds that flowed through Madoff Securities International, including money used to buy luxury goods and services for the Madoff family, such as a yacht, a home in the south of France and an Aston Martin car.
Mr Picard said defendants in the complaint included all of the former directors of Madoff’s international wing, including his brother Peter and two sons Mark and Andrew.
Martin Flumenbaum, a lawyer representing Mark and Andrew Madoff, said Mr Picard’s claims were baseless.
He said the sons were outside directors with insignificant ownership interests in the international business office. “They had no knowledge of their father’s crimes, including any fraudulent activity related to the London entity,” he added.
Mr Picard said in a statement that the London operation was part of “Madoff’s global shell game”.
“Funds stolen in the Ponzi scheme travelled around the world, but ultimately, ended up in the pockets of Madoff, his family and confederates,” he said.
He called the London office “a critical piece of the facade of legitimacy” that Madoff constructed to conceal his lack of trading activity.
The court action in London was based on investigations by those seeking to recover assets for thousands of investors who lost billions of dollars in Madoff’s massive fraud.
The fraud was exposed in December 2008 when Madoff revealed to his sons and later to the FBI that he had been running a Ponzi scheme for at least two decades in which he paid early investors with proceeds from later investors. Since pleading guilty to fraud charges in March 2009, Madoff, 72, has been serving a 150-year prison sentence.