NEW YORK (By Jonathan Stempel) - The trustee seeking to recover money for investors victimized by Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme said he hopes to begin distributing money "in the near future," but that litigation is delaying his efforts.
Speaking to reporters on a conference call, the trustee, Irving Picard, said he has recovered $2.6 billion of cash and equivalents.
Picard has won court approval to recover an additional $7.2 billion from the estate of Florida investor Jeffry Picower, but said actual recovery of that sum has been delayed by an appeal and an objection to a forfeiture order.
"While we hope to initiate distributions in the near future, it will take some time to distribute all the funds," in part because of litigation, Picard said on Tuesday.
"We anticipate that our position will ultimately prevail" in the litigation over the Picower case, he added.
Picard said he has filed more than 1,000 lawsuits in 30 countries to recover about $100 billion, and he and his legal team hope to recover "a majority of what we are seeking."
The lawsuits have been filed against people and businesses that Picard believes aided or turned a blind eye to Madoff's fraud.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Additional reporting by Sarah N. Lynch in Washington, D.C.; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)
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