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International finance court should be formed to hear Madoff cases: lawyers group

[JURIST] A group of lawyers called Monday for the formation of an International Finance Court to adjudicate the issues around the Bernard Madoff [JURIST news archive] fraud case. The Madoff Case Global Alliance of Law Firms, established last month [press release, DOC] at a meeting in Spain, aims to form an international network [Reuters report] to facilitate sharing information and developing strategies. They say an international forum must be established to address the complex issues of the case because of their sheer magnitude and because they unfold across several legal systems. The group plans to meet Wednesday with US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) [official website] chairman Mary Schapiro [official profile] to lobby for their proposal. The alliance also plans to present their proposal to the Group of 20 (G-20) [official website] at their April meeting in London in the belief that their plan should be organized in conjunction with the UN, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. Leading the coalition of lawyers is Javier Cremades [professional profile, in Spanish], from the Spanish law firm Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo [firm website, in Spanish], and Gaytri Kachroo [professional profile], from the US law firm McCarter & English [firm website]. Cremades and his law firm have brought a lawsuit [summons, PDF] against the Spanish bank Santander [corporate website, in Spanish] in a US federal court, although the case has not yet been adjudicated as the judge questions the appropriateness of jurisdiction [Bloomberg report] and the need for court intervention. McCarter and English is the law firm representing Harry Markopolos [Boston Globe profile], a whistleblower who accused [text] Madoff of fraud before the SEC in 2005.

In February, Madoff consented to a partial judgment [JURIST report] with the SEC over civil charges brought by the SEC to obtain preliminary injunction and freeze Madoff's assets. Madoff still faces criminal charges [JURIST report] by the SEC. The SEC's capacity for enforcement has been heavily questioned in the wake of the alleged Ponzi schemes perpetrated by Madoff and other financiers like Allen Stanford [JURIST report].

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