Bank was only concerned with protecting its own investments he says in filing
By TOM HAYS
The Associated Press
NEW YORK — E-mails and other internal documents show that executives at JP Morgan Chase were complicit in Bernard Madoff's massive fraud, lawyers seeking to recover funds for his victims said Thursday.
The lawyers work for a court-appointed trustee who filed a $6.4 billion complaint under seal late last year against JPMorgan, the disgraced financier's primary bank for two decades. The parties have since agreed to make portions of it public, the lawyers said.
The material supports allegations that "the bank's top executives were warned in blunt terms about speculation that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme," attorney Deborah Renner said in a statement. "Yet the bank appears to have been more concerned only with protecting its own investments in (the Madoff firm's) feeder funds."
It was unclear when the complaint would be made public. There was no immediate response to messages left for the attorneys.
In a statement on Thursday, JPMorgan said the complaint "is meritless and is based on distortions of both the relevant facts and the governing law."
The bank has denied having any suspicions about Madoff, saying it followed all commercial banking regulations in its dealings with him.
Trustee Irving Picard is in the midst of a two-year campaign to recover funds for Madoff's burned clients with a flurry of lawsuits against financial institutions and brokers. Last year, he filed a $2 billion suit against UBS AG over similar allegations that the bank called "completely unfounded."
Lawyers have accused JPMorgan and its affiliates of being "willfully blind" to "numerous red flags surrounding Madoff," including the unwavering double-digit returns he reported to wealthy investors on fictitious account statements.
Madoff, 72, is serving a 150-year sentence in a federal prison in North Carolina after admitting that he ran his scheme for at least two decades, using his secretive investment advisory service to cheat thousands of individuals, charities, celebrities and institutional investors.
Losses are estimated at around $20 billion, making it the biggest investment fraud in U.S. history.
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