Bernard Madoff Case: Austrian Bankers Testimony

News Brief: Mar., 2011

A New York Court has transmitted a formal summons to the Austrian Ministry of Justice, for the testimony of 71 Austrian bankers, writes Die Presse. The bankers will be formally deposed as part of the inquiries in the prosecution of Bernard L. Madoff’s multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme. Whether the depositions will take place in Austria or in the United States is still unclear.

This summons was brought by Irving Picard, a lawyer for US the victims in what is the largest ever fraud in banking history. Picard says that the Bank Austria, former Bank Medici as well as its former owner Sonja Kohn, played an important roll in the “Madoff System.” As of year end 2010, Picard had calculated damages of €19,6 billion against UniCredit, Bank Austria and Bank Medici, considered some 46% of the total fraud.

Court documents identify the 61 bankers as associated with the Bank Austria, and include CEO Willibald Cernko, his predecessor Erich Hampel, Hedwig Fuhrmann, the bank’s internal auditor, and Veit Sorger, President of the Association of Manufacturers who was a director of the bank up to 2004.

Bank Medici associates include former Minister of Commerce Johann Farnleiter and former Finance Minister Ferdinand Lacina will also have to give testimony, according to Die Presse. Both, Farnleiter and Lacina were directors of the bank.

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