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Banco Santander to Pay $235 Million in Settlement with Madoff Trustee

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Spain’s Banco Santander has reached a deal with the Bernard Madoff trustee, and will pay $235 million to Irving Picard to avoid being named in a claw back lawsuit, Bloomberg.com is reporting.  The settlement involves two hedge funds were operated by Santander’s Optimal Investment Services unit that invested heavily with Madoff.   Santander said that its agreement with Picard did not imply any wrongdoing on its part.

On March 12, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 fraud counts. The former chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange ran an investment advisory business for decades that was, in reality, a Ponzi scheme. Madoff faces up to 150 years in prison, and is scheduled for sentencing next month.

Picard was hired by the Securities Investor Protection Corp. (SIPC)  to liquidate Madoff’s assets in order to recover some of the $65 billion his investors lost to his scam.  So far, Picard has been able to collect  $1.22 billion as a result of his efforts.  According to Bloomberg.com, Picard has also filed several claw back lawsuits seeking  total of $10.1 billion in profits withdrawn by Madoff  investors that he claims should have known of the fraud. Picard also is seeking about $735 million from Madoff customers outside of court.  In spite of these efforts,  most experts expect Madoff’s former investors will only recover pennies on the dollar.

As we reported previously, losses for Banco Santander’s clients were among the highest of any bank linked to Madoff’s investment advisory business. As a result of its Madoff’s investments, the bank’s clients  lost more than  $3.1 billion. Yet just weeks before Madoff’s Ponzi scheme collapsed, managers at Banco Santander’s Optimal hedge fund investment arm were praising Madoff’s supposedly “impeccable” market timing.  The massive losses prompted some Santander clients to file a class action lawsuit against the bank in Miami, charging it did not perform enough due diligence in regards to its Madoff investments.

Since the lawsuit was filed, Banco Santander has offered a compensation deal to its clients.  According to Bloomberg.com, a little more than 90% have accepted the offer.

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