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Banco Santander Sued in Madoff Scandal Spinoff

MANHATTAN (CN) - Banco Santander is lead defendant in a class action involving its Optimal Funds. Banco Santander, 99% owner of Optimal Investment, is accused of turning over most of one of its Optimal funds to Bernard Madoff, and the subfund is now worthless. Optimal Investment got an average annual commission of 1.9% of the assets it managed - or 44 million euros, according to the complaint.

Doing the math, Optimal managed 2.3 billion euros.

"Plaintiff invested with Madoff and BMIS (Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities) indirectly through Optimal Multiadvisors, Ltd. ('Optimal Fund') and one of its two sub funds, Optimal Strategic US Equity Ltd. ('Optimal SUS.') The vast majority of the capital of the Optimal SUS sub fund was invested with Madoff and his related entities. Plaintiff has been informed that its investment in the Optimal SUS sub fund is now worthless," according to the complaint.

The named plaintiff is Serol Holding Corp.

Here are the defendants: Banco Santander, Banco Santander International, Optimal Investment Services, PricewaterhouseCoopers, HSBC Securities Services, HSBC Institutional Trust Services, HSBC Bank USA, Manual Echeverria Falla, Anthony L.M. InderRieden, and Brian Wilkinson.

Ecehverria Falla was CEO of Optimal Investment "from its inception in June 2001 until September 2008," according to the complaint. Before 2001 he was executive vice president of Banco Santander.

InderRieden and Wilkinson are directors of the Optimal Fund.

Plaintiffs are represented by Samuel Rudman of Melville, N.Y., and Coughlin Stoia Geller of San Diego.

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