M&I Bank accused of aiding and abetting Petters fraud

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The bankruptcy trustee recovering money for victims of the $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Twin Cities businessman Tom Petters is suing Chicago-based BMO Harris Bank, which now owns the formerly Milwaukee-based M&I Bank, the Star Tribune reports.

The lawsuit claims bankers at M&I Bank turned a blind eye to $35 billion funneled in and out of the main account used by Petters Companies Inc. between between 2003 and 2008.

In an e-mail sent to the Pioneer Press, Jim Kappel, the bank's vice president and head of media relations said, "We believe the claims in the suit are completely without merit and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves in this matter."

Toronto-based BMO Financial Group acquired M&I Bank in December 2010 and officially made the switch in October 2012.

Petters is currently serving a 50-year prison sentence for his fraud conviction.

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