Almost six years after Bernie Madoff admitted his investment firm was based on “one big lie,” two European criminal cases linked to the convicted fraudster are working their way to trial in Geneva.

Prosecutor Marc Tappolet is finishing an indictment of five managers at Aurelia Finance SA after the final pre-trial hearing wrapped up, said Henri Della Casa, a spokesman for the Geneva prosecutor’s office. One more witness needs to be questioned in another country before a second case can proceed against the former head of Banco Santander SA’s Optimal Investments unit, he said.

Aurelia was one of dozens of European vehicles that were known as “feeder funds” because they pooled assets to invest with Madoff.

“The Aurelia criminal trial is of great importance as it’s the first time managers of a so-called Madoff feeder fund are being held accountable for their alleged misconduct at a European criminal court,” said Erik Bomans, a partner with Deminor Group, a Brussels-based adviser that represents about 4,000 Madoff investors. “It will be a first important test for investor protection over the Madoff fallout in Europe.”

Madoff, 76, is serving a 150-year prison sentence in the U.S. after pleading guilty in 2009 to running a $17.5 billion Ponzi scheme that took money from new investors to pay old ones. A U.S. federal jury in March found five members of Madoff’s inner circle guilty of securities fraud, in what was likely the only criminal trial linked to the fraud anywhere in the world. Sentencing of the group was postponed until December as lawyers argued over financial penalties.

Aggravated Mismanagement

The five Aurelia managers were charged with “aggravated mismanagement” of clients’ money in April 2009, Tappolet said when he began his pre-trial investigation. The term typically means mismanagement with the intent of profiting from the act.

Albert Righini, a lawyer for Pascal Cattaneo, one of the Aurelia executives, declined to comment on any trial, which probably wouldn’t be scheduled before next year. Gerhard Auer, the Geneva-based administrator liquidating Aurelia Finance’s assets, said that the company has had no civil proceedings pending against it and declined to comment on the criminal case.

Francois Canonica, one of a team of lawyers who represent 75 investors who invested about 60 million Swiss francs ($62 million) with Madoff through Aurelia, said his clients were cheated by fund managers who didn’t sufficiently diversify their investments and were overly trusting of the New Yorker.

“The traditional rules by which fund managers are obliged to diversify investments were gravely violated,” he said in an interview.