Photo: World Newspaper
Madoff trustee Irving Picard filed the biggest of his numerous lawsuits against Sonja Kohn, Madoff’s biggest ally who’s often called his “evil twin” because she looks just like him. Seriously, they are identitical —–>
Apart from the resemblance, she looks innocent enough, but Picard describes her as Madoff’s “criminal soul mate,” and he says she owes victims about $19.6 billion — the 62-year old funneled billions to Madoff in exchange for $62 million in kickbacks.
She was quickly dubbed “Austria’s woman on Wall Street.”
Kohn met Madoff met in 1985. At the time she was living in Monsey, an ultraorthodox part of New York.
Apparently she had a “very aggressive personality and wouldn’t take no for an answer,” and was “overwhelming.”
In the 90s, Kohn returned to Vienna, where she relaunched Bank Medici and became a consultant to the Vienna Stock Exchange and a board member of Italy’s Finlombardia bank.
It was back in Austria that she helped send a ton of cash to Madoff via various Medici funds, and was allegedly paid to do so. She allegedly told potential investors she was very good friends with Bernie and that the fund was “hard to get into, but she could give [them] access.”
When the scandal broke, Kohn apparently kept a low profile and said she too had been deceived by Madoff, and that the fraudster certainly wasn’t a friend.
But directly before Madoff confessed, Kohn withdrew $536 million from Madoff Securities, “and took steps to hide her connection to the money manager” Picard alleges.
Some other specifics about Sonja:
- She was born to Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe.
- She grew up in Vienna in a small Jewish community.
- Her first business venture was an import-export business with her husband Erwin Kohn in Austria, then Italy
- Once in New Yorkm the couple founded a small brokerage firm called Eurovaleur Inc.
Under federal rackateering law, the $19.6 billion sum could swell to almost $60 billion.
FinancialFeed has a few details on the lawsuit:
According to the suit, Vienna based Kohn, who is an Orthodox Jew and ever sporting a red wig, masterminded the illegal scheme to exploit her privileged relationship with Madoff to feed over $9.1 billion into his Ponzi scheme.
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