"In Sonja Kohn, Madoff found a criminal soul mate, whose greed and dishonest inventiveness equaled his own." – Irving Picard.
The official investigation into the assassination of John F. Kennedy may have concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman, but those investigating Bernard ("Bernie") Madoff's giant Ponzi scheme are not yet ready to accept his story that he was a lone operator. The second "gunman" in this case, according to Irving Picard – the court-appointed trustee charged with recovering assets – is an Austrian banker named Sonja Kohn.
In a 157-page complaint filed December 10 in a Manhattan courtroom, Picard accused Kohn of funneling $9.1 billion to Madoff through a variety of feeder funds, in exchange for millions of dollars in kickbacks (at least $62 million). Picard is suing her, however, for the full $19.6 billion Madoff is believed to have stolen (rather than "just" $9.1 billion) as the scheme "could not have continued for as long as it did" without the fresh capital she kept bringing.
The relationship between Madoff and Kohn began in 1985, when she worked in New York as a stockbroker at Merrill Lynch. They were so tight, according to Picard, that once the fraud began unraveling, Madoff tried destroying evidence of their relationship and Kohn began making withdrawals, including a single $423 million transfer just one month before Madoff's arrest.