Madoff trustee tracks $1 billion in worldwide assets – tussle over power of attorney

March 24, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Investigators have now tracked down than $1 billion in assets from Bernard Madoff’s businesses, according to a lawyer for the court-appointed trustee trying to recover money for scammed investors said Monday.

David Sheehan, a lawyer for Irving Picard, who was appointed by the Securities Investor Protection Corp. to unravel Madoff’s businesses, said $75 million in an account in Gibraltar raises the amount of assets located past the $1 billion mark.

Sheehan’s disclosure came after a hearing in which government lawyers tried to block court, appointed trustee Irving Picard from gaining SIPC power of attorney over Madoff’s international operation.

SIPC, a government-backed corporation that covers losses when brokerages fail, is conducting a broad investigation of Madoff’s assets.

While this legal tug of war plays out, Sheenan said French authorities are moving to seize Madoff’s chateau in France, in order to satisfy claims by Madoff’s victims in France.

“Those things happen almost daily,” he told U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton, saying the trustee needs a strong hand in dealing overseas.

Sheehan said the trustee needed the power of attorney to go into foreign jurisdictions “at a moments notice” as he goes about his work of trying to recover as much money as possible for the swindler’s former customers.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Ann Ward said it was too soon in the investigation to give the trustee power of attorney. She claimed her office already has relationships in foreign countries and can act quickly to protect investor assets.

The judge did not immediately make a ruling on the issue.


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