Friday, 06 July 2012 02:30
By caribarena news
Antigua St John's - Attorney Cosbert Cumberbatch of Cumberbatch & Associates responsible for the securing and distribution of severance and retirement funds for former Stanford employees, has given assurances that his office and associates have not given up on the fight to recover.
In fact, Cumberbatch said sufficient assets have been secured to honor all remaining debts to employees under his charge and efforts are underway to convert those assets into liquid cash.
Since being charged with the recovery of benefits at the beginning of the Stanford Ponzi scheme discovery, Cumberbatch has managed only to recover the retirement fund contributions made by his clients. This was achieved after more than two years of challenges.
“We spent quite some time getting the retirement fund, which was eventually received and paid to workers last year. They did not get the severance since the focus was primarily on the retirement fund,” Cumberbatch explained in response to questions from Caribarena.com.
He said one of the main difficulties in the Stanford situation is that there are several companies with individual registration and structure that separate them from each other. Some of these companies are in receivership while others are in liquidation, so how settlement is achieved will depend on the individual entity.
"We are collaborating with them (liquidators in Tortola) in relation to severance. The largest group of employees is those of the Stanford Development Company Ltd but there are a number of other companies,” Cumberbatch said.
The attorney added that discussions have been held with Grant Thornton and their lawyers in Antigua, and these conversations remains active and ongoing.
"We have a common interest in seeing workers receiving their severance and we think we have sufficient assets (not liquid yet) that workers can be paid severance at this time,” he said. "We are in conversation with Grant Thornton and their lawyers here and we are working with them and their creditors.... to ensure that the workers are in fact paid.”
Caribarena.com had sought to investigate the matter following reader complaints about the slow pace of progress on the matter. One reader questioning the recovery status wondered aloud whether or not three decades would pass before funds are paid.
“The process will take time because of the large number of companies and the amount of workers … it will take time but confidence remains that payment would be made,” Cumberbatch maintained.
Addressing the matter of some former Stanford employees receiving letters from the law firm Gilardi & Co in the USA with a Proof of Claim Form that allows them to claim losses in the USA, Cumberbatch said if individuals sought to go after this offer they cannot expect payment in Antigua. So far though, he said the matter remains unclear and efforts are underway to get clarification.
"It is not clear to me. We have been trying to clarify this... It seems to me that there would have to be some sort of option but what is clear is that you cannot get severance in both the US and here in Antigua,” Cumberbatch said.
The attorney revealed that "very delicate” talks are underway and not much can be said right now so as not to affect those talks.
"We are sure they will get their severance. We have no doubt. Because of the nature of the Stanford collapse it’s difficult,” he said.