NEW YORK – More than $100 million from accounts handled by a World Trade Center brokerage was discovered missing in the days after the terrorist attack, according to a lawsuit.
The suit brought by Dirk Karreman, of Queensland, Australia, accuses First Equity Enterprises owner Andre Koudachev and other executives of "spending or absconding [with the money] to a presently unknown location."
The $108 million belongs to 1,400 investors in 14 countries, according to several foreign news accounts. Karreman claims he lost about $2 million and is seeking that amount in compensatory damages and $100 million in punitive damages.
According to court papers filed Wednesday, executives informed a trader 11 days after the terrorist attack that Koudachev had disappeared with the investors' money and "they were never going to see him again."
The executives allegedly tried to enlist the trader in a cover-up; he instead reported the case to authorities, the court papers said.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn confirmed that prosecutors have started an investigation into the missing money. No one has been charged.
Koudachev is a Russian citizen who has lived in Moscow for the past two years, said his attorney, Nathaniel Marmur. He left New York shortly after the Sept. 11 attack destroyed the brokerage's 15th-floor offices at the trade center.
"He is disappointed and concerned with the apparent loss of investor funds and is hopeful that every effort will be made to recover them," the attorney said.