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Hedge Fund Suit Accuses Minneapolis Law Firm of Aiding Criminal Enterprise

Posted Feb 8, 2012 8:19 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A hedge fund that lost money with a convicted Ponzi schemer has sued his in-house counsel and outside law firm.

The suit accuses Minneapolis-based Fredrikson & Byron of materially aiding the criminal enterprise of convicted businessman Tom Petters over a 10-year period, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. The suit by Ritchie Capital Management also names as defendants former Petters executives and Petters himself; his former in-house lawyer, David Baer; and Fredrikson lawyer Simon Root, according to a story by the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Petters was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 2010 for collecting money from investors that was never invested in consumer electronics as promised. The suit filed in Minnesota federal court last week claims hedge fund manager Thane Ritchie tried to buy Polaroid from Petters with a loan of more than $150 million, but the law firm helped Petters associates make the loan worthless, the Star Tribune says.

Both stories include a Frederikson statement denying the allegations. "The lawsuit has no merit and will be dismissed because it does not describe a single fact that would support a claim that our law firm did anything wrong or had any knowledge whatsoever of the Petters fraud," the statement says.

Related coverage:

Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Court hits Petters ex-lawyer Baer for 3 drug convictions"

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