Securities Corp. Seeks to Join Madoff Trustee JPMorgan Suit

The Securities Investor Protection Corp., which initiated the liquidation of Bernard Madoff’s money management firm, told a judge it has a “right to be heard” in trustee Irving Picard’s $6.4 billion suit against JPMorgan Chase & Co.

SIPC lawyer Kevin Bell made the assertion in a letter to U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon, according to a filing yesterday in Manhattan federal court. Picard has alleged JPMorgan aided in Madoff’s $20 billion Ponzi scheme. The New York-based bank, which is trying to move the case to U.S. district court from U.S. bankruptcy court, has said it may object to SIPC’s participation in the case.

Picard’s suit raises “unsettled” questions of common and commercial banking law that are beyond the expertise of a bankruptcy court, JPMorgan said in court papers.

The trustee and SIPC disagreed with the bank, saying in court filings the bankruptcy court is well-versed in the case. They noted that the court presides over more than 1,000 lawsuits filed by Picard that seek to return money to Madoff investors.

Jennifer Zuccarelli, a spokeswoman for JPMorgan, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment made after regular business hours.

Madoff, 72, pleaded guilty to orchestrating the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. He’s serving a 150-year sentence in federal prison in North Carolina.

A note on the court docket said the clerk doesn’t accept letters for filing and instructed SIPC lawyer Bell to write directly to the judge.

The case is Picard v. JPMorgan Chase & Co., 11-cv-00913, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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