As a private equity titan, Jacques Nasser made a bundle in 2005 as a key player in the sale of Polaroid Corp. But the deal has come back to haunt the former Ford CEO.
Nasser is a defendant in a civil suit that alleges he and others should have known that the money Minnesota financier Tom Petters used to acquire Polaroid was derived from a Ponzi scheme.
The suit was filed last month in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis by the receiver rounding up assets for Petters' former company, Petters Group Worldwide.
The trustee, Doug Kelley, alleges that JPMorgan Chase, the majority owner of Polaroid at the time, and its affiliates ignored "numerous red flags" as they did due diligence on the $426 million sale of Polaroid to Petters, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
As a partner in One Equity Partners, the private equity arm of JPMorgan Chase, Nasser was nonexecutive chairman of bankrupt Polaroid from 2002 to 2005. When Polaroid was sold to Petters Group for $426 million, Nasser walked away with $12.8 million, the suit says.
JPMorgan Chase collected more than $240 million on the sale, according to the lawsuit.
In 2009, Petters was sentenced to 50 years in prison for persuading investors to give his company money to purchase electronics to be sold to big-box retailers such as Costco and Sam's Club. Instead, Petters diverted the funds to make payments to other investors, fund his other businesses and finance an extravagant lifestyle.