February 18, 2011 Leave a comment
March 9, 2010 Leave a comment
One motion is still awaiting a vote, but another resolution has been introduced in the US House of Representatives to pressure Antigua and Barbuda into cooperating with Allen Stanford’s jilted investors. Read more of this post
January 6, 2010 Leave a comment
A 51-year-old man is set to spend the next 90 years of his life in jail for ripping off 125 elderly victims in a Ponzi scheme with links to the island of Grenada. Read more of this post
October 27, 2009 1 Comment
As Antigua and Barbuda awaits final word from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a loan it says it needs, victims of the alleged Stanford fraud are trying to stop the twin-island nation from accessing any funds from the lending agency.
In its latest campaign against the island, the Stanford Victims Coalition (SVC), through lawyers from the New York firm Morgenstern & Blue LLC, has written to members of Congress to get help blocking any IMF loan.
Antigua and Barbuda recently held talks with the Washington-based institution and are close to a final deal, although the amount it would receive has not yet been finalised. Read more of this post
October 16, 2009 Leave a comment
Billionaire financier and cricket entrepreneur Sir Allen Stanford spat up blood in court after suffering a severe beating in a jailhouse brawl.
The tycoon is facing a 375-year prison sentence for allegedly masterminding a $7bn (£4.3bn) scam.
The 59-year-old, who denies fraud and money-laundering, removed the blood using tissues and a cup during a preliminary trial hearing in Houston, Texas.
Judge David Hittner interrupted the proceedings to ask Stanford’s lawyer Kent Schaffer: “Is your client okay?” Read more of this post
October 2, 2009 1 Comment
Disgraced financier Sir Allen Stanford has been blocked from trying to go through a court outside the United States to access his Lloyd’s of London liability insurance.
Attorneys acting on his behalf had made an application to a British court, seeking an emergency hearing in London to stop the US receiver Ralph Janvey from interfering with Lloyd’s payment of some fees to Stanford’s lawyers under the liability policy.
British attorney Simon Peter Kamstra, in a statement dated September 23rd , told the court that the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the UK’s Serious Fraud Office had no objection to Stanford obtaining legal defense funds through the Lloyd’s policy. Read more of this post
September 23, 2009 Leave a comment
A hearing on a U.S. extradition request for Antigua’s former financial regulator has been postponed until December.
The public prosecutor’s office says the hearing for Leroy King is delayed after defense lawyers requested more time to prepare.
King has been fired as Antigua’s top financial regulator for ties to an alleged $7 billions scheme to swindle investors by jailed Texas financier R. Allen Stanford. Read more of this post
July 14, 2009 Leave a comment
A group of R. Allen Stanford-run business investors sued the government of Antigua and Barbuda, claiming the Caribbean nation helped the financier engineer an alleged $7 billion fraud scheme.
In a lawsuit filed today in a U.S. Court in Houston, seven investors say the island government received money in exchange for helping the financier conceal the financial condition of the Antigua-based Stanford International Bank Ltd.
“Antigua is sovereign but not above the law,” the investors said in their complaint. “It became a full partner in Stanford’s fraud, and reaped enormous financial benefits from the scheme.” Read more of this post
July 9, 2009 Leave a comment
Details are emerging of how an American banker, accused of operating a multi-million dollar scheme which he fronted as the Millennium Bank of St Vincent and the Grenadines, spent the money he allegedly swindled from investors on expensive property and on the upkeep of his wife and mistresses.
Documents submitted by prosecutors show that William Wise, 58, did not make any investments with the money he received from investors.
Instead, it has been alleged, he used as much as US$7 million to buy an estate in the Caribbean island where the offshore bank was said to be based; spent US$1 million on wine; US$40,000 a month on interest for a private plane; paid US$12,000 weekly to his wife; and gave an unknown number of female companions between US$6,000 and US$10,000 every month. Read more of this post
June 23, 2009 1 Comment
Antigua and Barbuda’s Attorney General has confirmed that efforts may soon be made to extradite the head of Antigua and Barbuda’s financial regulatory body to the United States to face charges stemming from his alleged acceptance of bribes from fraud-accused Sir Allen Stanford.
AG Justin Simon says while no formal request has yet been made, he has been informed that one may soon come as officials in the US seek to bring suspended Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) administrator Leroy King to justice.
He said the Antigua and Barbuda government will cooperate with the US authorities on the matter once all the correct procedures are followed. Read more of this post
June 23, 2009 Leave a comment
Federal regulators on Monday charged a New York brokerage firm and a California investment adviser with securities fraud, accusing them of funneling billions of dollars from investors into Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.The Securities and Exchange Commission announced civil fraud charges against Cohmad Securities, its chairman, Maurice Cohn, chief operating officer Marcia Cohn and broker Robert Jaffe.
Named in a second SEC lawsuit was Los Angeles-based investment adviser Stanley Chais, who allegedly oversaw three funds that invested all of their assets — nearly $1 billion — with Madoff.
Madoff secretly controlled New York-based Cohmad and used it to procure a steady stream of funds for his multibillion-dollar fraud, the SEC said. Read more of this post
May 11, 2009 1 Comment
A (BBC) Panorama investigation has suggested that Sir Allen was shielded from an earlier inquiry into his activities because he co-operated with a US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) attempt to track money laundering by Latin American drug cartels.
US officials closed down his banking activities in February, alleging a vast fraud centred on his Antigua-based offshore bank. Sir Allen, 59, previously most famous as the sponsor of the Twenty20 cricket tournament, has vowed to clear his name.
No criminal charges have yet been filed but the US Securities and Exchange Commission described his activities as a “massive Ponzi scheme”.
A former law enforcement official said in February that the FBI and other agencies started looking into Sir Allen’s possible involvement in money-laundering in the 1990s but could not find sufficient evidence to charge him. Read more of this post
April 8, 2009 1 Comment
The billionaire financier Allen Stanford has broken his silence to declare that the $8bn fraud accusations levied against him by US prosecutors are “baloney” and he will “die and go to hell” if his business empire is a Ponzi scheme.
During an eccentric performance outside a Houston restaurant in which he appeared close to tears and at one point threatened to punch his interviewer, Stanford admitted to ABC News that he expected to be indicted by a federal jury on criminal charges within two weeks.
But the founder of cricket’s Twenty20 international tournaments cast himself as an ordinary man and insisted that account holders at his network of Stanford banks have not lost a penny.
“I’m the maverick rich Texan where they can put the moose head on the wall. And that’s the only reason they went after me,” said Stanford. “I’m fighting for my survival and for my integrity.” Read more of this post
February 19, 2009 4 Comments
As Bernard Madoff was arrested and charged with the world’s biggest scam on December 11, another billionaire was just 24 hours away from watching his own alleged fraud unravel before his eyes.
Among the millions of hapless investors, banks and charities who scrambled to discover how much they had lost to Mr Madoff was Allen Stanford, whose vast investment empire stretched across the US, the Caribbean and Latin America.
He was told on December 15 – less than a week after the alleged Madoff “Ponzi” scheme collapsed — that his firm had lost a relatively modest $400,000.
But the loss marked the beginning of the end for Mr Stanford. His business activities, which included a bank and a fund-management company, had already aroused the suspicion of his own clearing bank, Pershing, one of the world’s biggest financial institutions.
On December 12 Pershing had effectively thrown in the towel on Mr Stanford by ceasing to process any wire transfers for his investment firm because it had grown concerned about the lack of transparency in his business. Pershing had no idea who Mr Stanford’s clients were or how he made his money.
Mr Stanford relied on Pershing to process his commercial transactions. Between 2006 and December 2008, Pershing had sent to the Stanford Bank in Antigua about 1,635 wire transfers worth about $517million, from about 1,700 accounts.
As Mr Stanford allegedly lied to his anxious investors — telling them that his own businesses had no exposure to Mr Madoff — the American financial regulators had begun an investigation into Mr Stanford. It took them three months, until Tuesday afternoon, to charge him and two of his associates with fraud.
Apart from the obvious two connections between Mr Madoff and Mr Stanford – that one invested in the other and that both have been charged with fraud — they have a good deal else in common.
The investment schemes of both came to light primarily because of the slump in the US economy and the collapse of world stock markets. Mr Madoff’s alleged “Ponzi” scheme was laid bare after his own investors rushed to withdraw their savings, which they believed to have been held in stocks and shares.
Mr Stanford had run into trouble after big investments such as holdings in Florida property started to unravel.
The two alleged frauds are also similar in scale – though Mr Madoff’s victims believe that they lost about $50billion, far more than the $8billion fraud with which Mr Stanford is charged. And both have involved American, offshore and British financial regulators scouring the globe for assets.
December 29, 2008 3 Comments
Photo credit: Reuters
“There is bound to be a Caribbean link to the Madoff affair.”
That prediction by a Wall Street analyst a few days after the US$50 billion fraudulent Ponzi scheme masterminded by Bernard Madoff made headlines around the world has become a fact of life.
So far, two Caribbean countries, the Caymans and US Virgin Islands, are known to have suffered losses as a result of Madoff’s scheme which has hurt banks, families, educational institutions, investment funds and individuals around the world.
The largest known loser in the Caribbean is M-Invest Limited, an offshore company in the Cayman Islands that has been hit for hundreds of millions of dollars, maybe as much as US$700 million belonging to private investors who had originally placed their money in an elite private Swiss Bank, Union Bancaire Privée.
UBP, a 39-year-old financial institution founded by Edgar de Picciotto, has more than US$125 billion in assets. On its list of clients are some of the world’s wealthiest people and institutions scattered across Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle East and elsewhere.
Shortly after the turn of the 21st century, UBP decided to set up an arm called M-Invest Limited and registered it in the Cayman Islands. The main purpose, according to people in Paris, Geneva, New York and London, was to channel hundreds of millions of dollars into various investment houses on Wall Street and in Europe. In the process it would earn hefty returns while keeping the transactions secret, away from the prying and covetous eyes of the United States Treasury, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in London, and their counterparts in Paris.
M-Invest, regulated by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, was used by UBP to do two things. First, it enabled the private Swiss bank to put at least US$500 million and as much as US$700 million into Madoff’s company in New York. Secondly, the Caribbean entity gave UBP a cozy financial arrangement with Madoff, so much so that M-Invest and UBP were able to get access to financial assessments and other insights into Madoff’s business that others were routinely denied.
The trouble is that M-Invest and UBP must now explain to their clients how come they didn’t spot the fraud long ago and why they seemingly gave Madoff a clean bill of financial health before the debacle despite the misgivings about the way the Jewish investment management was operating and why he was able to provide his clients with hefty returns at a time when others were losing money.
The British territory in the Caribbean is one of the world’s leading banking centres. Like Geneva, Zurich, Vermont, Ireland and Luxembourg, Cayman Islands allows wealthy corporations and families to park their money out of reach of the tax collectors of industrialised nations.
Now both M-Invest and UBP are trying to find out what happened to their funds.
But they aren’t the only ones in the Caribbean crying foul.
Endowment funds lost
The Roman Catholic Diocese of St Thomas may have to turn away students whose parents can’t afford to pay school fees because the church’s two private elementary schools in St Croix have lost nearly US$2 million it had invested with Madoff. The money was in endowment funds set aside to help finance the education of poor students.
“The schools continue to function,” said Monsignor Jerome Feudjio of the Roman Catholic Church. “However, people who knock on the door looking for financial aid, they may have to look elsewhere,”
According to a published report from Charlotte Amalie, the St Mary’s Elementary School lost US$800 000 while St Patrick’s lost almost US$500 000. US Virgin Islands Roman Catholic Bishop Herbert Bevard said an additional US$800 000 in “rainy day funds” went down the drain, washed away in the massive fraud scheme engineered by Madoff.
The losses suffered by the diocese are expected to affect priests as well. The Madoff fraud depleted some insurance and pension funds meant to provide for priests in their old age.
“Even though our priests are young, it means that in 20 years we will have to start finding way to help them,” said Monsignor Feudjio. But while disappointed, Bishop Bevard is being practical about the loss.
“We’re all taking a very philosophical approach to this,” Bevard said. “The reaction from parishioners has been very supportive. But, of course, everyone is very disappointed with Mr Madoff and the fraud.”
Although the Bahamas, Barbados, and Antigua for instance, are not in the Cayman Islands’ league as far as offshore banking is concerned, there is speculation on Wall Street that investment houses in some of those countries may have suffered some losses.