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Fairfield Greenwich Sued Again Over Madoff Losses

Bernard Madoff allegedly defrauded many investors over many years. One of the key reasons why his alleged fraud was able to continue for so many years was that Madoff was able to claim that he only had a few investors, most of which were so-called "feeder funds". As Toomre Capital Markets LLC ("TCM") noted in the post Update on Bernie Madoff Scandal and Feeder Funds, the five largest admitted feed funds were Fairfield Greenwich, Tremont Capital, Banco Santander, Bank Medici and Ascot Partners. Two days ago, TCM wrote more about the legal travails of Ezra Merkin and his Ascot Partners and Gabriel Capital hedge funds in the post Ezra Merkin and Madoff Feeder Funds Face More Lawsuits.

The largest of the Madoff "feeder funds" was Fairfield Sentry Fund run by Walter Noel's hedge-fund firm Fairfield Greenwich Group. All told that firm had approximately $7.5 billion invested with the alleged fraudster Bernie Madoff. On Monday January 12th 2009, the latest (and at least the third) civil complaint was filed against this "feeder fund" manager. This suit was filed on behalf of investors by noted lawyer David Boies, who also represents "Hank" Greenberg (formerly the CEO of AIG) and who previously argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of presidential candidate Al Gore in the 2000 election litigation regarding the State of Florida re-count fiasco. Mr. Boies is now representing two trusts and a holding company based in the Cayman Islands as well as Carlos Gauch of Mexico.

The complaint states “Most, if not all, of the assets of the plaintiff class had invested with defendants were stolen through the Madoff Ponzi scheme.” Boies further wrote “These losses could have been avoided if defendants had fulfilled their duties” and “if they had adequately investigated and monitored Madoff. ” Through the complaint, the plaintiffs are seeking the return of their investments and fees as well as damages.

The defendants are the firm's founder Walter Noel, Andres Piedrahita and Jeffrey Tucker. They are accused of breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and unjust enrichment, among other counts. Other defendants apparently include the Dublin branch of Netherlands-based Citco Bank Nederland NV, which maintains Fairfield Sentry’s escrow account, according to the complaint. The inclusion of Citco (primarily known as a fund administrator for a great percentage of the largest hedge funds) is noteworthy because it suggests that Mr. Boies is attempting to go after other "deep pockets" that might be able to contribute to the funds available to aggrieved investors. This suit is referenced as Inter-American Trust v. Fairfield Greenwich Group, 09-cv-301, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).