Saturday, 09 June 2012 02:30
By caribarena news
Antigua St John's - The fallout from the collapse of the Stanford International Bank (SIB) continues to poison the atmosphere across continents and oceans.
The former international financier now languishes in United States Federal prison following his conviction on charges of operating a US$7 billion Ponzi scheme from his Antigua-based financial institution.
Now, two rival liquidators face off on a global scale, both attempting to oversee the dismantling of Stanford assets worldwide in favor of victims of the disaster.
United States court-appointed Ralph Janvey faces off against Joint Liquidators Grant Thornton, appointed in Antigua & Barbuda by the Eastern Caribbean High Court.
Their battle to control the debris of the former Stanford Empire has taken them to court in the US and has led Grant Thornton to attempt to lobby Congress on their own behalf.
Caught in the middle of this titanic struggle are the thousands of victims of Allen Stanford’s schemes. The Stanford Victims Coalition (SVC), represented by spokesperson Angela Shaw, has repeatedly clashed with the Antigua & Barbuda Joint Liquidators.
SVC deeply distrusts both Grant Thornton and Antigua & Barbuda, and loses no opportunity to challenge the Joint Liquidators actions and intentions.
Read on for the latest in a series of email letters exchanged between SVC and Grant Thornton.Mr. Marcus Wide and Mr. Hugh Dickson
Antiguan Liquidators for Stanford International Bank, Ltd.
Re: Response to the Stanford Victims Coalition’s Questions Regarding the Status of the Antiguan Liquidation Proceeding of Stanford International Bank
Dear Mr. Wide and Mr. Dickson,
While I was not given the courtesy of a direct reply to the questions I submitted on behalf of the Stanford Victims Coalition (SVC) on April 3, 2012, I was recently able to review the responses posted on your website. As the director of the SVC, as well as an individual Stanford International Bank (SIB) CD investor, I would like to provide my thoughts.
Unfortunately, your responses about the status of the Antiguan liquidation proceeding of Stanford International Bank (SIB) are far from unbiased, and your patronizing comment noting “the dubious hand of Morgenstern” in my letter is quite simply unprofessional. Peter Morgenstern had no role whatsoever in formulating the SVC’s questions. While Mr. Morgenstern does serve along with me on the Official Investors Committee appointed by the U.S. District Court, he does not represent the SVC, and he is not involved in the SVC’s efforts.
In my opinion, the Antiguan liquidation team continues to be well versed in manipulating the truth to fit its needs. The volume of misleading, one-sided information in your response is simply astonishing, and I feel is a travesty Stanford victims do not know who they can believe and trust in the aftermath of losing their savings in fictitious Stanford International Bank CDs.
As I have previously suggested, if you would like to provide true transparency and full disclosure to the creditors of the SIB estate, your next “webinar” should be a joint effort by the Antiguan liquidators, the Official Investors Committee, and the U.S. Receiver to address the creditors together with no ulterior motives.
The parties involved in the U.S. liquidation and litigation proceedings for more than three years now have substantially more experience in this particular case than the Antiguan liquidation team, and their input is essential to allow Stanford victims to fully see the ugly truth about how their few remaining assets are being spent by the Joint Liquidators in a way that complicates and prolongs their recovery.
Now that Allen Stanford has been convicted in the United States and the same jury that found him guilty also approved the forfeiture of Stanford-owned accounts in the UK, Canada and Switzerland, the Antiguan liquidators are preventing the DOJ from repatriating those funds to the U.S. so they can be distributed to Stanford’s victims under U.S. law through the Receiver’s already running claims process.
Instead, the Antiguan liquidators have used $20 million “borrowed” from the UK accounts (which belong to the creditors) to pay yourselves to: 1)litigate against the DOJ for control of $330 million designated for criminal forfeiture; and 2)fight for recognition before the United States courts, where you have attempted to duplicate actions of the Receiver (which we have already paid for at least once) and other parties.
The Antiguan liquidators have aligned with a hand-picked faction of actual creditors, including Alex Fundora, a client of the liquidators’ counsel, who clearly received preferential treatment from the Antiguan courts’ “award” of almost $3 million of SIB creditors’ funds. Your team has chosen not to align with the real majority of the creditors of the Stanford estate, or heard our pleas for cooperation and conservation of the estate.
The Antiguan liquidators’ motivation has been clear in my opinion, but your recent letter to the DOJ proposing DOJ drop their litigation over the frozen criminal forfeiture accounts in the UK, Canada and Switzerland revealed once and for all the Antiguan liquidators’ real incentive—a $60 million paycheck to distribute the assets. Why would the Antiguan liquidators think it is logical for Stanford’s thousands of victims to be funding their fight with the DOJ to distribute the CRIMINAL PROCEEDS of a crime prosecuted by the United States government?
The SVC does not support having any Stanford creditors’ claims governed by Antiguan law, which was used by Allen Stanford to operate a massive Ponzi scheme while the Antiguan government has done nothing to accuse any parties of any wrongdoing. Why would any Stanford victim want their claims administered in a country known for corruption and whose government partnered with Stanford in order to steal our savings? Lest we forget Allen Stanford used stolen SIB CD money to pay for the creation of the very law that governs the Antiguan liquidation proceeding!
The Antiguan liquidators have nothing to distribute to Stanford creditors if you do not gain control over the forfeiture accounts, and your team has already spent millions of dollars belonging to Stanford creditors’ fighting the U.S. government (paid by many Stanford creditors’ tax dollars) to get control of those accounts.
That harsh reality is not exactly featured in your webinars and emails, which I believe have utilized purely for PR purposes to promote the Antiguan liquidators.
If your team would stop spending what is left of our savings to litigate against the DOJ, the $330 million could be repatriated and distributed in the very near future and under U.S. law rather than Antiguan law.
If Antigua had prosecuted Allen Stanford, the Antiguan liquidators would have had a more legitimate argument for control of Stanford’s assets. The sad reality is the Antiguan government’s first response to the “Stanford situation” as their lobbyist in Washington calls it was to take what assets were left so they had “a bargaining chip” when the Receiver came knocking. When the U.S. government showed Antigua it would not stand for yet another illegal expropriation of property owned by U.S. citizens, Antigua then tried to wash its hands of being at the center of one of the world’s most scandalous financial crimes in history by saying Antigua was only a “transit point” in the Stanford Ponzi scheme.
Today, the Antiguan liquidators appointed by the High Court of Antigua claim that Antigua was much more than a transit point; you claim Antigua was the “center of main interest.” If Antigua was the center of Stanford’s Ponzi scheme, why hasn’t Antigua pursued any criminal allegations for the mutli-billion Ponzi scheme that occurred on their watch?
Let’s be honest, we all know Stanford International Bank was a house of cards, and that Allen Stanford was rightfully prosecuted in the U.S. the Stanford Financial Group’s real center of main interest. It is only fair and logical that all of Stanford’s assets and the litigation relating to those assets are rightfully administered by the U.S. District Court. The Antiguan liquidators’ refusal to cooperate and defer to the U.S. Receivership in any way, shape or form has been and will continue to be a massive obstacle standing in the way of ALL Stanford victims’ recovery.
Additionally, it appears to me the Antiguan liquidators have a very clear conflict of interest in fairly representing a substantial number of the creditors they claim to represent including my own family and thousands of other Stanford Group Company (SGC) customers who stand to gain protection under the Securities Investor Protection Act.
Approximately $3.5 billion of the $7.2 billion on Stanford’s books on February 16, 2009, came from fictitious CD "transactions" that were traced to commissions paid to a registered representative of Stanford Group Company, a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). The owners of those $3.5 billion in accounts are in jeopardy of not obtaining protection by SIPC for up to $500K of their losses because of the same arguments being made by the Antiguan liquidators--that SIB was a real bank with real obligations to its customers,
The Stanford Victims Coalition strongly urges the Antiguan Joint Liquidators to: 1) drop its litigation related to the forfeiture accounts in the UK, Canada and Switzerland; 2) repay the funds that were borrowed from the UK accounts; and 3) focus on pursuing assets outside the U.S. that have not already been secured.
If that had been your approach all along, the SVC would have been 100% supportive of those efforts. Instead, your proceeding has cost us unknown millions by fighting for control of what had already been recovered, while also delaying the process of recovering through other avenues. The human toll of this international turf war is immeasurable, and it compounds every day. The bleeding of the Stanford estate must be stopped.
Director and Founder
Stanford Victims Coalition