Stanford investors sue Antigua-Barbuda and ECCB

By Caribbean News Now contributor

DALLAS, USA — Allen Stanford’s receiver and investors’ committee have sued Antigua and Barbuda, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and 23 former Stanford Financial Group executives, alleging that they aided the financier’s $7 billion fraud.

The Official Stanford Investors Committee seeks repayment of at least $90 million in documented loans that Stanford is said to have made to the government of Antigua and Barbuda and accuses its elected officials of having been “Stanford’s partners in crime.”

Antigua and Barbuda’s leaders shielded Stanford’s scheme and traded choice real estate for as much as $230 million in loans that haven’t been repaid, according to the lawsuit.

“Antigua knowingly provided necessary assistance to Stanford’s $7 billion Ponzi scheme and, in exchange, received millions of dollars in loans whose repayment terms Stanford did not enforce,” the committee said in a complaint filed in Dallas federal court last Friday. “For well over a decade, Antigua was a prime participant in, and beneficiary of, the Stanford Ponzi scheme, and actively protected and shielded Stanford’s criminal enterprise from real regulatory scrutiny.”

Stanford, 62, was convicted last March of masterminding a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors through the sale of bogus certificates of deposit at his Antigua-based Stanford International Bank Ltd. He is currently serving a 110-year sentence in a Florida federal prison pending an appeal of his verdict and sentence.

Evidence at Stanford’s trial showed he bribed Antiguan banking regulator Leroy King to falsify audits certifying the bank’s investment returns and mislead US securities regulators investigating the former Texas billionaire’s operations. Stanford was also allowed to underwrite and participate in banking reform legislation that Antigua claimed had cleaned up its corrupt offshore banking industry, according to trial evidence. Antigua has so far failed to extradite King to face criminal charges in the US.

Also on Friday, the investors separately sued the ECCB, which took control of Stanford’s other local financial institution, the Bank of Antigua, after the US Securities and Exchange Commission seized Stanford’s enterprise on suspicion of fraud in February 2009.

The ECCB in turn parceled out ownership in the bank to the government of Antigua and to other Caribbean banks in what the investors called “a second act of brazen thievery.” The head of ECCB’s monetary council at the time was Antiguan Minister of Finance Errol Cort, who was both King’s supervisor and one of Stanford’s personal attorneys, according to court papers.

“The considerable value of the Bank of Antigua, believed to be in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, should be distributed as compensation to its rightful owners, Stanford’s victims and creditors,” the committee said in court papers.

Ralph Janvey, Stanford’s court-appointed receiver, filed another lawsuit on Friday claiming breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit by 23 former directors and officers of Stanford’s operations, including three executives convicted of furthering the fraud scheme. The suit seeks return of all compensation from these individuals, some of whom have been previously sued by the receiver on similar claims.

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