NEW YORK (LALATE) – Sonja Kohn was Bernie Madoff’s “criminal south mate”, claims Irving Picard. Sonja Kohn’s relationship with Bernard Madoff started in 1985; because of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, Kohn, now 62, was able to build a massive Vienna bank, claims the trustee now pursuing her.
Sonja Kohn is the latest defendant to face off against Irving Picard, the trustee liquidating Bernard L. Madoff’s firm. To date, Picard had gotten for victims $2.5 billion.
But the Kohn’s lawsuit could change all that.
Picard is seeking from Picard and nearly a dozen European banks upwards of $58.8 billion. His valuation is $19.6 billion in damages, trebled under the RICO statute.
Picard claims Kohn and Madoff knew each one another’s dealings. Picard claims Kohn made money on alleged knowledge that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme. Picard even alleged that Kohn knew Madoff was going to be arrested and got her money out before his arrest.
The 153 page complaint filed by Picard against Kohn, Bank Medici, Bank Austria, UniCredit could dramatically change the dynamic of funds recovered for Madoff victims. In Sonja Kohn,”Madoff found a criminal soul mate, whose greed and dishonest inventiveness equaled his own” said Picard Friday.
Ms Kohn defended herself last year about the same allegations. She told the WSJ in 2009 “I am actually the greatest Madoff victim. It is a tragedy for my family, my company and for me personally.” “The Ponzi scheme could not have continued for as long as it did [if not for Kohn]” said Picard’s lawsuit.