Austrian Madoff 'Victim' Actually Accomplice: Lawsuit
Vienna's Sonja Kohn accused of funneling billions into Ponzi scheme
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2010 11:35 AM CST
A 2009 file photo of Bernie Madoff.   (AP Photo/David Karp, file)

(Newser) – Before the suicide of his son, this was shaping up to be the big Bernie Madoff story of the day: A Vienna banker who once called herself one of the Ponzi scheme's biggest victims may in reality have been Madoff's biggest conspirator. The trustee handling the investigation accuses Sonja Kohn of funneling billions of dollars from European investors Madoff's way in exchange for $62 million in kickbacks that she insisted on receiving in person, report the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

“In Sonja Kohn, Madoff found a criminal soul mate, whose greed and dishonest inventiveness equaled his own,” wrote trustee Irving Picard, who's been filing a crush of lawsuits ahead of tonight's midnight deadline. Kohn's alleged role has been previously reported, but Picard's lawsuit clarifies its scope and says she knew Madoff was a fraud from the get-go. They first met in the 1980s when she worked in New York as a Merrill Lynch stock broker. Her whereabouts are unknown.