Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee overseeing the clawback of Madoff Ponzi money, has recently been filing lawsuits like a man possessed. Hedge funds specializing in distressed debt have taken notice, reluctantly. Putting discretion ahead of valor, many of these funds are now offering cash to settle outstanding claims made by Madoff’s victims.
“Virtually every sophisticated distressed investor is looking at the Madoff situation,” Thomas T. Janover, a lawyer at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, told the New York Times. Janover has represented clients who are considering buying claims.
Interest in the Madoff claims has been piqued in recent days by the spate of lawsuits filed by the Madoff trustee, Irving Picard. Some of the targets of the hundreds of lawsuits he’s filed are well-heeled banks—like JPMorgan Chase and UBS.
One nameless Madoff investor showed the newspaper letters he’d received from six companies offering from 20 to 34.5 cents for every dollar in claims. The letters came from firms including the Greenwich, Conn.-based hedge fund Contrarian Capital Management; Austin, Tex.-based Fulcrum Credit Partners; and Rutherford, N.J.-based Hain Capital Group.
Fortress Investment Group, Perry Capital, Silver Point Capital, the Baupost Group and Farallon Capital Management are among the hedge funds the paper says are “actively exploring the market.”
Picard has recovered $2 billion to date, and approved claims worth $5.9 billion. He’s filed over $50 billion in so-called clawback lawsuits.