Sec. Inv'r Prot. Corp. v. Bernard L. Madoff Inv. Sec. (In re Madoff)

Decision Date09 December 2022
Docket Number08-01789 (CGM),Adv. Pro. 12-01566 (CGM)
PartiesSECURITIES INVESTOR PROTECTION CORPORATION, Plaintiff-Applicant, v. BERNARD L. MADOFF INVESTMENT SECURITIES LLC, Defendant. In re: BERNARD L. MADOFF, Debtor. IRVING H. PICARD, Trustee for the Liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, Plaintiff, v. UKFP (ASIA) NOMINEES LIMITED, Defendant.
CourtUnited States Bankruptcy Courts. Second Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Southern District of New York



Attorneys for Irving H. Picard, Trustee for the Substantively Consolidated SIPA Liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC and the Chapter 7 Estate of Bernard L. Madoff

Baker & Hostetler LLP

Amy E Vanderwal

David Sheehan

Matthew K. Cowherd Special Counsel to Irving H. Picard, Trustee for the Substantively Consolidated SIPA Liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC and for the Chapter 7 Estate of Bernard L. Madoff


Howard L. Simon

John J. Tepedino

Counsel for Defendant UKFP (Asia) Nominees Limited


Joaquin M. C de Baca



Pending before the Court is Defendant's, UKFP (Asia) Nominees Limited ("UKFP" or "Defendant"), motion to dismiss the complaint of Irving Picard, the trustee ("Trustee") for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC ("BLMIS") seeking to recover subsequent transfers allegedly consisting of BLMIS customer property. Defendant seeks dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim due to the "safe harbor" provision of the Bankruptcy Code. For the reasons set forth herein, the motion to dismiss is denied in its entirety.


This is an adversary proceeding commenced in this Court, in which the main underlying SIPA proceeding, Adv. Pro. No. 08-01789 (CGM) (the "SIPA Proceeding"), is pending. The SIPA Proceeding was originally brought in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (the "District Court") as Securities Exchange Commission v. Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC et al., No. 08-CV-10791, and has been referred to this Court.

This Court has jurisdiction over this adversary proceeding under 28 U.S.C. § 1334(b) and (e)(1), and 15 U.S.C. § 78eee(b)(2)(A) and (b)(4).

This is a core proceeding under 28 U.S.C. § 157(b)(2)(A), (F), (H) and (O). This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over these adversary proceedings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1334(b) and 157(a), the District Court's Standing Order of Reference, dated July 10, 1984, and the Amended Standing Order of Reference, dated January 31, 2012. In addition, the District Court removed the SIPA liquidation to this Court pursuant to SIPA § 78eee(b)(4), (see Order, Civ. 08- 01789 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Dec. 15, 2008) ("Main Case"), at ¶ IX (ECF No. 1)), and this Court has jurisdiction under the latter provision. Personal jurisdiction has been contested by this Defendant and will be discussed infra.


The Court assumes familiarity with the background of the BLMIS Ponzi scheme and its SIPA proceeding. See Picard v. Citibank, N.A. (In re BLMIS), 12 F.4th 171, 178-83 (2d Cir. 2021), cert. denied sub nom. Citibank, N.A. v. Picard, 142 S.Ct. 1209, 212 L.Ed.2d 217 (2022).

This adversary proceeding was filed on April 26, 2012. (Compl., ECF[1] No. 1). Via the complaint ("Complaint"), the Trustee seeks to recover $5,182,325 in subsequent transfers made to UKFP. (Id. ¶ 2; Stip. & Order, ECF No. 79) (dismissing seven alleged subsequent transfers). UKFP was a member of Henderson Group plc, a large investment management company, at the time of the alleged subsequent transfers. (Compl. ¶ 3, ECF No. 1). Defendant is a British Virgin Islands company with offices located in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, and a principal place of business in Hong Kong. (Id. ¶ 22). Prior to March 2016, UKFP's name was Towry Law (Asia) Nominees Limited. (See Cowherd Decl., Exs. 1-2, ECF No. 87).

The subsequent transfers were derived from investments with BLMIS made by Fairfield Sentry Limited ("Fairfield Sentry"). (Id. ¶ 41). Fairfield Sentry is considered a "feeder fund" of BLMIS because the intention of the fund was to invest in BLMIS. (Id. ¶¶ 2, 7).

Following BLMIS's collapse, the Trustee filed an adversary proceeding against Fairfield Sentry and related defendants to avoid and recover fraudulent transfers of customer property in the amount of approximately $3 billion. (Id. ¶ 35). In 2011, the Trustee settled with Fairfield Sentry. (Id. ¶ 40). As part of the settlement, Fairfield Sentry consented to a judgment in the amount of $3.054 billion (Consent J., 09-01239-cgm, ECF No. 109) but repaid only $70 million to the BLMIS customer property estate. (Compl. ¶ 40, ECF No. 1). The Trustee then commenced a number of adversary proceedings against subsequent transferees, like Defendant, to recover the approximately $3 billion in missing customer property.

In its motion to dismiss, Defendant argues that the Trustee has failed to plead personal jurisdiction. Defendant further argues that the Court should dismiss the complaint due to the Safe Harbor under Bankruptcy Code Section 546(e). The Trustee opposes the motion to dismiss. For the reasons set forth herein, the motion to dismiss is denied in its entirety.

Personal Jurisdiction

Defendant objects to the Trustee's assertion of personal jurisdiction. (Mem. L. ¶ 4-15, ECF No. 83). In the Complaint, the Trustee argues that Defendant purposefully availed itself of the laws of the United States and New York. (Compl. ¶¶ 6-8).

To survive a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Trustee "must make a prima facie showing that jurisdiction exists." SPV Osus Ltd. v. UBS AG, 882 F.3d 333, 342 (2d Cir. 2018) (quoting Penguin Grp. (USA) Inc. v. Am. Buddha, 609 F.3d 30, 34-35 (2d Cir. 2010)). A trial court has considerable procedural leeway when addressing a pretrial dismissal motion under Rule 12(b)(2). Dorchester Fin. Sec., Inc. v. Banco BRJ, S.A., 722 F.3d 81, 84 (2d Cir. 2013). "'It may determine the motion on the basis of affidavits alone; or it may permit discovery in aid of the motion; or it may conduct an evidentiary hearing on the merits of the motion.'" Dorchester Fin. Sec., Inc. v. Banco BRJ, S.A., 722 F.3d 81, 84 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Marine Midland Bank, N.A. v. Miller, 664 F.2d 899, 904 (2d Cir. 1981)); see also Picard v. BNP Paribas S.A. (In re BLMIS), 594 B.R. 167, 187 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2018) (same).

"Prior to discovery, a plaintiff challenged by a jurisdiction testing motion may defeat the motion by pleading in good faith, legally sufficient allegations of jurisdiction." Dorchester Fin., 722 F.3d at 84-85 (quoting Ball v. Metallurgie Hoboken-Overpelt, S.A., 902 F.2d 194, 197 (2d Cir. 1990)); Picard v. Fairfield Greenwich Grp. (In re Fairfield Sentry Ltd.), 627 B.R. 546, 565 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2021) (same). In this case, the Trustee has alleged legally sufficient allegations of jurisdiction simply by stating that Defendant UKFP "knowingly direct[ed] funds to be invested with New York-based BLMIS through Fairfield Sentry." (Compl. ¶ 6). This allegation alone is sufficient to establish a prima facie showing of jurisdiction over Defendant in the pre-discovery stage of litigation. At the pre-discovery stage, the allegations need not be factually supported. See Dorchester Fin. Securities Inc. v. Banco BRJ, S.A., 722 F.3d 81, 85 (2d. Cir. 2013) (explaining that an averment of facts is necessary only after discovery). That being stated, this was not the only allegation made by the Trustee.

In order to be subjected to personal jurisdiction in the United States, due process requires that a defendant have sufficient minimum contacts with the forum in which defendant is sued "'such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.'" Picard v. Bureau of Labor Ins. (In re BLMIS), 480 B.R. 501 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2012), 480 B.R. 501, 516 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2012) (quoting Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945)). The pleadings and affidavits are to be construed "'in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs, resolving all doubts in their favor.'" Chloé v. Queen Bee of Beverly Hills, LLC, 616 F.3d 158, 163 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting Porina v. Marward Shipping Co., 521 F.3d 122, 126 (2d Cir. 2008)); Picard v. BNP Paribas S.A. (In re BLMIS), 594 B.R. 167, 187 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2018).

The Supreme Court has set out three conditions for the exercise of specific jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant. First, the defendant must have purposefully availed itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum State or have purposefully directed its conduct into the forum State. Second, the plaintiff's claim must arise out of or relate to the defendant's forum conduct. Finally, the exercise of jurisdiction must be reasonable under the circumstances.

U.S. Bank Nat'l Ass'n v. Bank of Am. N.A., 916 F.3d 143, 150 (2d Cir. 2019) (cleaned up).

Purposeful Availment

"[M]inimum contacts . . . exist where the defendant purposefully availed itself of the privilege of doing business in the forum and could foresee being haled into court there." Charles Schwab Corp. v. Bank of Am. Corp., 883 F.3d 68, 82 (2d Cir. 2018). "Although a defendant's contacts with the forum state may be intertwined with its transactions or interactions with the plaintiff or other parties, a defendant's relationship with a third party, standing alone, is an insufficient basis for jurisdiction." U.S. Bank Nat'l Ass'n v. Bank of Am. N.A. 916 F.3d 143, 150 (2d Cir. 2019...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT