HSBC, Other Defendants Seek to Dismiss Madoff Investor Suit

HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) and other defendants in a lawsuit by investors in foreign feeder funds that lost money in Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme asked a U.S. judge to dismiss the case, saying it belongs in Ireland and Luxembourg.

The individual investors in 2009 sued Thema International Fund Plc and 27 other defendants, including Thema’s custodian bank, London-based HSBC, alleging the bank should have known of Madoff’s fraud. The investors asked to amend their suit after U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan last month rejected HSBC’s proposed $62.5 million settlement, saying it is “not fair, reasonable or adequate.”

“These cases do not belong in a United States court,” the defendants said in an Oct. 28 court filing. Referring to two other feeder funds in the suit, they said, “The Thema action belongs in Ireland, and the Primeo and Herald actions in Luxembourg.”

In addition, the plaintiffs are barred by the laws of New York, Ireland and Luxembourg from bringing such claims, the defendants said.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), also a defendant, said separately that the investors shouldn’t be allowed to amend their suit and the case should be dismissed.

Madoff, 73, pleaded guilty in 2009 to orchestrating what prosecutors called the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. He is serving a 150-year sentence in a federal prison in North Carolina.

The case is In re Herald, Primeo and Thema Securities Litigation, 09-cv-00289, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporters on this story: Linda Sandler in New York at lsandler@bloomberg.net; Bob Van Voris in Manhattan federal court at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net.

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