Funds brace for "firestorm" of Madoff legal actions

18 December 2008

Investment firms whose clients have fallen victim to the $50 billion Madoff fraud scandal are bracing themselves for a "firestorm" of litigation for their role in recommending investments with the Wall Street broker's firm.

According to the Independent, individuals and charities from around the world have seen their assets wiped out by the affair.

Many are now gearing up to sue over fund managers' perceived failure to properly investigate Mr Madoff's methods, which the newspaper notes were "shrouded in mystery" for years.

US regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission has already revealed that it had "credible and specific" warnings about Mr Madoff's investment firm as far back as 1999, but the allegations were never formally followed up.

Lawyer Jeffrey Zerling, who is representing some of the victims of the alleged fraud, said: "If this were a traditional bank robbery, the eyewitness reports would say Mr Madoff walked out with billions of dollars as someone held the door open for him."

The New York Law School is already suing investment adviser Ascot Partners, its general partner Erza Merkin and the company's auditor BDO Seidman in connection with the scandal, Reuters reported.

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