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Picard targets London operations of Madoff scheme

London arm of the Ponzi scheme has remained unscathed even though Madoff's deals worth £1bn were don

The London subsidiary of fraudster Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme was dragged into the investigations after Irving Picard, the trustee recovering assets for investors, filed a lawsuit with the United Kingdom's High Court of Justice Commercial Court.

The London arm of the $50bn (£31bn) Ponzi scheme had as of yet remained unscathed, following the Serious Fraud Office's (SFO) decision not to take legal action against Madoff Securities International (MSIL), even though Madoff's deals worth £1bn were done through it.

Picard hopes to recover at least $80m from the international arm of Madoff's business.

The lawsuit filed in London names Madoff's family members, including his brother Peter and his sons Mark and Andrew. Five directors of the tainted firm's European unit, including Stephen Raven, the former chief executive officer, have also been named.

The directors are accused of "making fraudulent payments to various Madoff-related entities, including payments for luxury goods and services enjoyed by Bernard Madoff and the Madoff family, including a yacht, a home in the south of France, and an Aston Martin car."

Sonja Kohn, the former chairman of Bank Medici AG in Austria, was also sued for channelling more than $27m through the MSIL in sham transactions.

Picard alleged that funds stolen in the Ponzi scheme travelled around the world, but ultimately ended up in the pockets of Madoff, his family and confederates like Sonja Kohn, adding that MSIL in London was part of "Madoff's global shell game."