Sunday, 28 February 2010

Lawyer sues to recover Allen Stanford's donations to congressional fundraisers

Dallas attorney Ralph Janvey, who is in charge of recovering assets from the empire of alleged Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford, sued the congressional fundraising committees on Friday to recover money that could be returned to investors.

Janvey first requested in Feb. 2009 that more than $1.8 million in campaign donations be returned to the estate. The largest beneficiaries of Stanford's largess were the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ($950,500); the National Republican Congressional Committee ($238,500); the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ($200,000); the Republican National Committee ($128,500); and the National Republican Senatorial Committee ($83,345). According to Janvey, who is represented in the matter by Kevin M. Sadler and Timothy S. Durst of Baker Botts, the committees have "ignored" his requests to return the funds.

Two of the Republican committees are led by Texans: the NRCC, by Rep. Pete Sessions of Dallas, and the NRSC, by Sen. John Cornyn. An NRCC official previously told The Dallas Morning News that the group has no plans to return the money. Sessions' NRCC struggled to raise money in 2009, although it reported raising $4.5 million in January. Even with improved fundraising prospects in 2010, it's hard to imagine the NRCC unilaterally disgorging the Stanford donations since its rival, the DCCC, hasn't agreed to give back the money, either.

There have been a lot of questions about what kind of favors Stanford sought in return for his generous donations. Interestingly, the attorneys argue the answer is nothing: "The Committee defendants did not furnish any consideration whatsoever for the funds they received from Stanford, Davis and the Stanford Financial Group," the complaint states. "Consequently, they have no legitimate right to retain the funds, and the Receiver is entitled to the return of all such funds."

U.S. judge OKs sale of Stanford's Panama assets

The receiver overseeing accused swindler Allen Stanford's estate may proceed with the sale of the firm's bank and brokerage in Panama, a U.S. judge said on Wednesday.

Ralph Janvey, the court-appointed receiver, may proceed with the sale of Stanford Bank S.A. and Stanford Casa de Valores in Panama City, two assets held by Stanford International Holdings S.A., U.S. District Judge David Godbey said in a one-page order.

Panama's bank regulator seized Stanford's Panama operations last year after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Texas billionaire Allen Stanford of running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.

Janvey had previously negotiated the sale of the Stanford assets to Strategic Investments Group for $15.5 million, according to court documents.

Stanford, 59, opposed the sale. He has denied any wrongdoing and is in a Houston jail awaiting trial on criminal charges related to the fraud.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Watchdog Blasts Private Financial Regulators

In a letter sent today to Congress' banking and finance committees, a leading government watchdog has urged House and Senate lawmakers to crack down on the financial-services industry's internal "private self-regulatory organizations," or SROs, a less understood but problematic player in the global financial meltdown. Put simply, an SRO is a regulator within, say, the securities industry tasked with protecting investors, but is often led, in a glaring conflict of interest, by the very same people that regulator is supposed to be overseeing. If that sounds dubious, well, that's because it is. And as the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) contends in its letter, one prominent SRO, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), has an "abysmal track record," so much that POGO openly questions "whether FINRA can ever be an effective regulator given its cozy relationship with the securities industry."

Despite FINRA's stated commitment to "putting investors first," a look at the regulator's record in the past few calamitous years casts doubt on that claim. FINRA, the POGO letter states, neglected to step in and regulate firms like Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, and Merrill Lynch that all collapsed under FINRA's watch, while also failing to spot the massive, multibillion-dollar Ponzi schemes run by Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford. In Stanford's case, POGO found, an internal FINRA review discovered the regulator missed Stanford's scheme on several occasions; and with Madoff, the private regulator claimed it wasn't at fault for letting the biggest Ponzi scheme in history slip by even though experts said Madoff was under FINRA's purview.

Then again, when you look at FINRA's leadership, it's hardly surprising the regulator failed to spot the likes of Madoff and Merrill, Stanford and Bear Stearns. As POGO's letter says, conflicts of interests are rife within FINRA, to wit: FINRA chairman and CEO Richard Ketchum is a Citigroup alum; the regulator's executive overseeing member regulation came from Charles Schwab; and another executive in charge of enforcement is a former partner at a top law firm representing major financial institutions. Not to mention FINRA's ties to Madoff and Stanford—Shana Madoff, Bernie's niece, was on FINRA's compliance advisory committee until the firm went under, and two top level staffers for Allen Stanford served on other FINRA committees. "FINRA's numerous failures," POGO writes, "should hardly come as a surprise given the incestuous relationship between SROs and the financial services industry."

Yet despite these criticisms, FINRA's Ketchum wants more power for his organization, like overseeing investment advisers as well as securities brokers. Thus the purpose of POGO's letter today is to urge Congress not to let that power grab happen, and even more to encourage House and Senate lawmakers to curtail FINRA's authority. "Effective, independent, and efficient government regulation is the only proper way to safely oversee our markets," the letter concludes. "Our economy is too important to be left in the hands of the very financial industry that brought us to the brink of collapse."

Suit filed to force lawmakers to return Stanford contributions

Thousands of families lost their life savings when, investigators say, they uncovered a massive fraud centered around billionaire Allen Stanford.

Now, the man assigned to defend the victims says money they are due is being withheld by an unlikely source: Politicians.

They're refusing to give back more than $1.8 million they received from Stanford, now accused of being a criminal.

Arley and Marsha Carter worked hard to build the family business that eventually let them retire in the country.

Then came news of the massive ponzi scheme involving their money.

They weren't alone; thousands of other investors were also exposed.

"A lot of sleepless nights," Marsha Carter told News 8 during an interview last March. "It's hard not to worry.

The Carters were hopeful that federal investigators would find some money still left in Stanford accounts. But on Monday, they learned that it is government leaders who are still holding on to some of those funds — and they're angry.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court, attorney Kevin Sadler, representing the court-appointed receiver, contends that political committees from both political parties are holding on to $1.6 million contributed by Allen Stanford and his affiliated businesses — money they retained even as Stanford investors suffered.

"One lady and her husband had invested, and she was having problems just getting his funeral taken are of," Marsha Carter said in the 2009 interview.

The receivers also published the names of individual campaigns that have not returned the money. Thus far, they have not been sued.

In Texas, the list includes KPAC, the political action committee affiliated with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison; Sen. John Cornyn; and U.S. Representatives Pete Sessions, Charles Gonzalez, and Pete Olson.

Representatives Kevin Brady, Lamar Smith, Sam Johnson, Joe Barton and Michael McCaul are also on the list.

KPAC — along with the Cornyn, Sessions, Brady, and Johnson campaigns — told News 8 the money went to charity.

But Sadler equated that to saying, "I don't have the money anymore because I gave it to someone else."

He also points out that the gifts to charities do nothing for the victims, many of whom are seeing their golden years become their most trying years yet.

Late Monday, Rep. Olsen said he will return the Stanford funds to the receivership.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Stanford Receiver Sues Political Committees

The political stakes in the Stanford Financial scandal are getting higher.

The court-appointed receiver who is tracking down the billions of dollars missing in the alleged Ponzi scheme — Dallas attorney Ralph Janvey — has filed suit against the major parties' congressional campaign committee seeking the return of $1.6 million in contributions they received from company founder Allen Stanford and his top lieutenants.

The move comes less than two weeks after Janvey demanded the committees return the funds, but received no response.

The suit, filed in federal court in Dallas, names the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

The suit says the committees "have no legitimate right" to keep the contributions, which Janvey says belong to Stanford's investors.

The suit says the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee received the largest amount of tainted contributions, $950,000. The National Republican Congressional Committee follows with $238,500; the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee received $200,000, the Republican National Committee got $128,500 and the National Republican Senatorial Committee took in $83,345. None of the committees was immediately available for comment.

Janvey has thus far stopped short of suing individual members of Congress, from whom he is seeking another $200,000 in contributions. Several of the congressmen, including Texas Republican Pete Sessions and New York Democrat Charlie Rangel have said they donated their Stanford-linked contributions to charity.

In addition to Janvey's lawsuit, the Miami Herald reported in December that federal prosecutors are investigating whether Stanford's lavish campaign contributions were an improper attempt to buy influence.

Stanford Receiver Sues Democratic, Republican Groups

Democratic and Republican political groups were sued for the return of more than $1.6 million in money investors entrusted to Stanford Financial Group before the company’s principals were charged with a $7 billion fraud.

Court-appointed receiver Ralph Janvey claims the Republican National Committee, the Democratic and Republican senatorial committees and each party’s congressional campaign groups have refused to return the money, according to a complaint he filed Feb. 19 in federal court in Dallas.

U.S. prosecutors in June announced separate charges against company founder R. Allen Stanford and chief financial officer James Davis for their roles in what the government said was a $7 billion securities-fraud scheme.

“The committee defendants did not furnish any consideration whatsoever for the funds they received from Stanford, Davis and the Stanford Financial Group,” according to Janvey’s complaint. “Consequently, they have no legitimate right to retain the funds.”

Stanford and others were also sued last year by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, triggering Janvey’s appointment to oversee Stanford’s businesses and recoup money for investors. Stanford has denied wrongdoing.

Davis pleaded guilty in August to three felony counts. His lawyer, David Finn, said then that his client would cooperate with federal investigators.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee received $950,500, according to Janvey. The organization didn’t immediately reply to an e-mailed request for comment on the lawsuit.

Sara Sendek, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

The political contributions case is Janvey v. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, 10cv346, in the Northern District of Texas (Dallas).

Monday, 22 February 2010

Attorney for Stanford investors says ECCB sending mixed messages

The attorney representing Stanford investors who have just filed a lawsuit against the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) has identified what he says are inconsistencies in the institution’s claimed intentions for the Bank of Antigua (BoA).

Peter Morgenstern of New York firm Morgenstern & Blue LLC said two statements issued by the ECCB – one after fraud charges were laid against BoA owner Allen Stanford last February and the other in response to the Stanford Victims Coalition lawsuit announcement last week – have sent mixed messages about what the Central Bank plans for BoA.

“I think that there is a great deal of contradictory information that is being disseminated by the government officials of Antigua and now the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and it’s very difficult for us as representative of the investors to know precisely what the position of either the government or the ECCB is under the circumstances,” he told The Daily OBSERVER.

Morgenstern pointed out that in a statement dated February 25, 2009, in which the ECCB sought to reassure the public following the run on BoA, the Central Bank said that to protect the interest of depositors and to preserve the stability of the financial system of Antigua & Barbuda, it had used its emergency powers to assume control of BoA and “took exclusive custody control and possession of all the funds, assets and other property and undertaking of the Bank wherever situated including funds on deposit at the Bank.”

“The Central Bank is therefore by law currently in control of the bank to the exclusion of the shareholder and any and all former directors of the institution,” it added.

Then last week, Morgenstern said, in outlining the facts relevant to its intervention, the ECCB insisted that it had not sold or otherwise disposed of the property, assets and undertaking of or any shareholding of BoA and that the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Financial Company Ltd, which was set up to run the day-to-day operations of the bank, was simply managing the bank.

“That’s clearly contradictory to the earlier statement,” Morgenstern argued. “The above clearly indicates that the ECCB was taking on much more than the management role that they and the government now allege they were taking on.”

Efforts to reach the ECCB Governor Sir Dwight Venner for a response to Morgenstern’s claims have so far been unsuccessful.

Meantime, the lawyer has sought to clarify that while his clients agree that the ECCB had both the power and obligation to stabilise the situation after the run on BoA, it’s what they did, or rather didn’t do, after that they have taken issue with.

The attorney claimed that the ECCB did not follow through on its own laws and regulations.

“Once they took the action they took, legally under their own governing statute they were required to retain an independent, outside auditor to determine the value of the bank and to distribute the value of the institution to the owners of the bank if there was a value, and we think it was very valuable and continues to be a very valuable financial institution,” he said, insisting that the rightful owners in this case are the victims of Stanford’s alleged US $8 billion fraud.

Finance Minister Harold Lovell had earlier indicated that the BoA would be valued but to date, there has been no update on whether it has been completed.

AG denies ducking US lawsuit

The Antigua & Barbuda government is being accused of refusing to accept the summons serving notice of a multi-billion dollar lawsuit filed by former Stanford investors and blanking the victims’ efforts to resolve the dispute. But the country’s Attorney General Justin Simon has denied knowledge of either effort.

The allegation has been made by attorney-at-law Peter Morgenstern who is representing the victims in the lawsuit filed in the US state of Texas last year, in which they allege that the government was Allen Stanford’s partner in crime. They’re asking for up to US $24 billion in compensation – three times what the disgraced billionaire allegedly swindled.

The government has to be served with the official documents in order to respond to the lawsuit and under the Hague Service Convention to which both the US and Antigua & Barbuda are signatory, there are specified procedures required to formally serve papers in cross-border civil or commercial matters.

The attorney general has told The Daily OBSERVER that the government has not received any documents. However, Morgenstern insisted in an interview with this newspaper that the authorities here simply haven’t been receptive.

“The government of Antigua & Barbuda, to this day as far as I understand, has refused to even accept formal service of the complaint that we filed and has refused to step forward in a court of law and defend the allegations or put forward their official position with respect to the allegations that we made in the complaint,” he claimed.

“We’ve tried on numerous occasions through appropriate entities to formally deliver that summons and complaint to the government and they’ve refused to accept it. One would think if the government was serious and really believed in their position that they would be willing to come forward in a formal way and provide an answer in an appropriate court of law and let’s have a judge decide the legal issues that we’ve raised.”

When asked to identify the individual or individuals on whom attempts were made to serve the documents, Morgenstern said he would have to get the details from the international process server who was hired to deliver the papers.

Documents can be served through a state’s designated Central Authority which, according to the website for the Hague Conference on Private International Law, is the Registrar of the High Court in the case of Antigua & Barbuda. Provision can also be made for service via international registered mail or directly through an agent in the destination state.

Research by The Daily OBSERVER has found that under Article 13 of the Hague Service Convention, where a request for service complies with the terms of the Convention, the state addressed may refuse to comply “only if it deems that compliance would infringe its sovereignty or security”.

“It may not refuse to comply solely on the ground that, under its internal law, it claims exclusive jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action or that its internal law would not permit the action upon which the application is based. The Central Authority shall, in case of refusal, promptly inform the applicant and state the reasons for the refusal,” it adds.

Article 14 indicates that “difficulties which may arise in connection with the transmission of judicial documents for service shall be settled through diplomatic channels”.

Morgenstern has declined to reveal what the next course of action would be, saying only that the legal team “will continue our efforts and I’m confident that at some point we will effectuate official service on the government and we’ll move forward with the lawsuit.” The attorney has further claimed that the Antigua & Barbuda government has ignored attempts to settle the matter out of court.

“We’ve made several attempts to reach out to the Antiguan government to try to have a dialogue and see whether we can clear up some of these issues and some of this controversy and we’ve had no success in doing so, but it’s something that we would certainly be willing to have a discussion about,” he explained.

When pressed about who had been contacted and when and how the contact had been attempted, the attorney said he “was not in a position to reveal who was approached.”

Questioned after the interview with Morgenstern, the Attorney General said he was not aware of the efforts Morgenstern claimed had been made.

“I’m not aware of any such documents being served or about anyone being contacted,” Simon told this newspaper, suggesting that the attorney should provide the names of persons with whom contact had been attempted and dates and times when those efforts were made.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Stanford stays in jail

Jailed Texas swindler suspect R. Allen Stanford unveiled his latest legal tactic to get free: Prosecutors failed to tell me what I've done wrong. So there!
A year after charging the billionaire in a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, the Securities and Exchange Commission has failed to disclose any basic case, said Stanford's lawyers in a new bid to an appeals court for his release.

"We've looked really hard at the latest complaint, and it's 32 pages long but it doesn't really have any specifics about what Allen Stanford said, to whom he said it or how the SEC even has jurisdiction over the CDs, because they're not securities," Stanford lawyer Christina Sarchio told Bloomberg.

But it didn't fly, and a US appeals court in Houston turned down his freedom bid for a second time.

Stanford's trial is set to begin in January 2011.

Stanford, 59, was jailed nearly eight months ago without bail, due to his possible flight risk. Courts said he's likely to flee the US, since he holds a passport for the tiny Caribbean island of Antigua, which also has knighted him as Sir Allen for planting a global bank there and holding immense personal wealth on the island.

In one earlier attempt to get free for the Christmas holidays, Stanford unsuccessfully argued that he's cracking up behind bars and simply must get out for a family visit.

Stanford did manage last year to get moved from a Texas hellhole cell into a cushy federal lockup in Houston after a cellmate broke his nose and blackened his eye.

RSS Jailed Texas swindler suspect R. Allen Stanford unveiled his latest legal tactic to get free: Prosecutors failed to tell me what I've done wrong. So there.

A year after charging the billionaire in a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, the Securities and Exchange Commission has failed to disclose any basic case, said Stanford's lawyers in a new bid to an appeals court for his release.

"We've looked really hard at the latest complaint, and it's 32 pages long but it doesn't really have any specifics about what Allen Stanford said, to whom he said it or how the SEC even has jurisdiction over the CDs, because they're not securities," Stanford lawyer Christina Sarchio told Bloomberg.

But it didn't fly, and a US appeals court in Houston turned down his freedom bid for a second time.

Stanford's trial is set to begin in January 2011.

Stanford, 59, was jailed nearly eight months ago without bail, due to his possible flight risk. Courts said he's likely to flee the US, since he holds a passport for the tiny Caribbean island of Antigua, which also has knighted him as Sir Allen for planting a global bank there and holding immense personal wealth on the island.

In one earlier attempt to get free for the Christmas holidays, Stanford unsuccessfully argued that he's cracking up behind bars and simply must get out for a family visit.

Stanford did manage last year to get moved from a Texas hellhole cell into a cushy federal lockup in Houston after a cellmate broke his nose and blackened his eye.

Tensions at Stanford

Battle lines have been drawn as the key figures within the remaining Stanford companies are in a leadership tussle.

Caribarena had earlier reported that the fiancé of R Allen Stanford, Andrea Stoelker, and Barbara Streete were seeking to be appointed directors of the companies.

But their plan reached no further than the registrar at the High Court, as Stoelker was unable to produce an alien landholder’s license.

Reports are that the court is now expected to hear a matter on Monday involving Head of the Stanford Development Company (SDC) Arlene Winter and Streete, who is the operations manager of two Stanford companies, the Sticky Wicket and the Athletic Club.

It appears that Streete is seeking to gain access to the Stanford desalination plant to use the facility in negotiations with the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA).

The state-owned utility company on Tuesday disconnected all its services to a number of the Stanford companies, including those being managed by Streete.

The companies' position would be strengthened by the current drought situation, since APUA recently reported that most of its surface water supplies have dried up.

Streete reportedly wants access to the plant to sell APUA water, the proceeds from which would be split evenly between the company and offsetting the outstanding utility bills.

But Streete is unable to proceed, since the plant is under the control of the Stanford Development Company, headed by Winter.

According to well-placed sources, Streete and the company’s lawyer, Hugh Marshall Jr, met with General Manager of APUA Elsworth Martin on Wednesday.

The company asked the APUA official for a temporary reconnection until the completion of the court matter. The management of APUA was supposed to get back to them in an hour, but it is unclear whether the utility company responded.

The companies were still in darkness up to Wednesday night, as electricity had not been restored. Water is not an issue, as a huge cistern provides a regular and reliable

Allen Stanford Asks Judge to Dismiss SEC Lawsuit Alleging Fraud

R. Allen Stanford asked a judge to throw out the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit accusing him of running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, claiming the agency failed to state a case.

The SEC didn’t meet the minimum requirements for laying out the fraud case, attorneys for Stanford and businesses including his Antigua-based Stanford International Bank Ltd. said yesterday in papers filed with U.S. District Judge David Godbey in Dallas. The SEC sued last February, alleging Stanford oversaw a “massive” fraud centered on the sale of certificates of deposit through the bank.

“We’ve looked really hard at the latest complaint, and it’s 32 pages long but it doesn’t really have any specifics about what Allen Stanford said, to whom he said it or how the SEC even has jurisdiction over the CDs, because they’re not securities,” Stanford lawyer Christina Sarchio said yesterday in a phone interview.

Stanford also has been criminally indicted by a grand jury in Houston. He has denied all allegations of wrongdoing. Stanford is being held without bail in a Houston jail, awaiting a criminal trial scheduled for Jan. 24, 2011.

On Feb. 17, Godbey denied as moot an earlier defense bid to dismiss the litigation, citing revisions made by the SEC in an amended complaint.

Kevin Callahan, a spokesman for the commission, declined to comment on Stanford’s motion in an e-mail. “We stand by the allegations in our complaint,” he said.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

U.S. appeals court says Stanford must stay in jail

A U.S. appeals court denied for the second time a bid by accused swindler Allen Stanford to be released from jail pending trial.

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said in a ruling on Wednesday that Stanford's lawyers presented "no new circumstances" in their second effort to win his release.

His lawyers argued that because of his declining mental and physical health, Stanford's friends and family had offered to hire armed off-duty peace officers to guard him to ensure that he would appear in court.

"We're disappointed, but based on the way this case has gone, we are not surprised," Kent Schaffer, Stanford's criminal defense attorney said.

Stanford's legal team is mulling an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Schaffer said.

Stanford, 59, was first deemed a flight risk by U.S. District Judge David Hittner in June 2009. His trial is set for January 2011.

During his time in jail, Stanford has been hospitalized at least two times, for a rapid heartbeat and for injuries he sustained in a fight with another prisoner. He has also lost a considerable amount of weight.

The Texas financier, who has denied any wrongdoing, faces civil and criminal charges related to a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.

Prosecutors allege that Stanford sold fraudulent certificates of deposit issued by his offshore bank in Antigua, and used those proceeds to bankroll a lavish lifestyle that included private jets, a yacht and luxury homes.

In another development, lawyers who represent Stanford in civil fraud case said they plan to file a motion asking that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's complaint against the former billionaire be dismissed.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Class Action Lawsuite Against ECCB/Antigua

Follow the link to view the Class Action Lawsuite filed against Antigua and the ECCB over the Banks of Antigua:

Politicians Slow To Repay Tainted Donations

Financier Allen Stanford steps off a prison transport bus at the federal courthouse for a hearing Sept. 15

Billionaire investor Allen Stanford was one of the biggest players in the financial meltdown.
His empire collapsed a year ago this week, and he's now awaiting trial on fraud charges.
Meanwhile, a court-appointed lawyer is trying to recover $1.8 million in campaign contributions that Stanford and his executives made with clients' money.
If the name Allen Stanford jogs your memory at all, it might be because he got the government of Antigua to dub him Sir Allen Stanford.
Or because he threw millions of dollars into his passion for the game of cricket.
Or because of an interview he did in June 2008 on CNBC, in which he responded to the question: Is it fun being a billionaire?
"Well, ah — yes, yes. I have to say it's fun being a billionaire. But it's hard work. But it's hard work," Stanford said.
Whether Stanford would call making campaign contributions hard work or fun, he made a lot of them.
Stanford and his two top executives dropped nearly $2 million in Washington, D.C. The money went to five party committees, three presidential campaigns and 82 members of Congress.
A judge has appointed what's called a "receiver" to recover whatever he can for investors — including that campaign money.
Kevin Sadler, a lawyer representing the receiver, says the Stanford operation used political money as a tool. It was "a business organization that from the outside appeared to be a legitimate business and was doing many things to give an appearance of legitimacy, one of which was to provide political contributions."
The fact is politicians don't like to let go of money they've raised. The receiver sent letters last March asking for refunds.
Out of the $1.8 million, a bit less than $89,000 came back.
Top 10 Unreturned Political Contributions (Ranked By Size of Contribution)
Amount Source
$950,000 Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
$238,500 National Republican Congressional Committee
$202,000 Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
$128,500 Republican National Committee
$83,345 National Republican Senatorial Committee
$25,000 Rangel Victory Fund
$10,000 New Jersey Democratic State Committee
$10,000 Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
$6,600 Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY)
$6,100 Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Complete List
Source: Stanford Financial Group Receivership
Now a second round of letters has gone out. It tells the politicians that the money was "diverted from the thousands of innocent investors that have been defrauded by the Stanford Ponzi scheme."
There's no threat to file suit, but Sadler says that's not off the table.
"The money needs to be returned, and where it's cost-justified to do so, then certainly going to court is very much an option," he says.
That leaves one question: Who's holding all of this Stanford money?
In first place is the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee with $950,000 — almost half the total. Nobody at the committee responded to NPR's request for comment.
The National Republican Congressional Committee ranks No. 2 with $238,500. Its spokesman said they had no comment.
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, has the most Stanford money of any lawmaker: $35,800. His office didn't respond to NPR's request for comment.
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), with $10,000, is in second place for individual lawmakers who didn't return their cash.
There is precedent for politicians giving back tainted contributions. Deciding to do so can be as much political as legal.
"I think what ultimately will happen will depend on whether the story has legs or not," says Larry Noble, a campaign finance lawyer and former general counsel to the Federal Election Commission.
Noble says politicians look at the pain threshold where the money is no longer worth the fight.
"The larger the amount of money, the higher the pain threshold," he says.
But it seems when it comes to holding onto Allen Stanford's money, the pain hasn't come anywhere near the threshold. At least, not yet.

Victims of Stanford scam sue Antigua, Carib bank

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Jilted investors of a global fraud allegedly run by jailed financier R. Allen Stanford filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Caribbean regulators, five regional financial institutions and the government of Antigua and Barbuda.

The class-action suit seeks compensation for the "unlawful seizure" of the Bank of Antigua, a Stanford affiliate, attorney Peter D. Morgenstern said.

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, or ECCB, took over the Bank of Antigua in February 2009 in the wake of the U.S. fraud probe of the Texas tycoon's vast financial empire and redistributed its equity ownership.

But the complaint alleges the victims are entitled to the value of the Bank of Antigua when it was seized to provide some compensation to the roughly 28,000 investors from across the globe who allege they lost their life savings to the flamboyant financier.

"Instead of acting as a legitimate central bank, the ECCB became a partner in crime with the government of Antigua and Barbuda when it seized the bank," Morgenstern said in a statement. "The Bank of Antigua was, and remains, enormously valuable. All of that value rightfully belongs to Mr. Stanford's victims."

According to the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Dallas, the Bank of Antigua's value included loan receivables from the government of Antigua worth tens of millions of dollars, at least.

Phone calls made to several Antiguan government officials went unanswered Tuesday. Kennedy Byron, a director of bank supervision for the ECCB, declined to comment.

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank is the monetary authority for a group of eight island economies, and it explained its intervention at the time as an effort to contain damage to the local economy.

Stanford provided loans to the government of Antigua and was the country's largest private employer, with businesses that included a development company, cricket stadium, newspaper, an airline and two restaurants.

But Angela Shaw, a leader of the advocacy group Stanford Victims Coalition whose family invested $4.5 million in Stanford certificates of deposit, said foreign investors in Stanford's CDs were abandoned in the rush to protect the economy of Antigua, an island of 80,000 people.

"How can they say they need to protect Antigua when it has come at the cost of foreign citizens from around the world, when it was purchased with stolen money?" Shaw alleged during a phone interview from Dallas.

Stanford and other executives of the now-defunct Houston-based Stanford Financial Group are accused of orchestrating a huge Ponzi scheme by advising clients to invest more than $7 billion in certificates of deposit from the Stanford International Bank on Antigua. Investors from 113 countries were promised huge returns and assured their investments were safe.

But U.S. authorities say Stanford and the executives fabricated the bank's balance sheets, bribed Antiguan regulators and misused investors' money to pay for his lavish lifestyle.

The lawsuit says investors are entitled to compensation for the value of the Bank of Antigua when it was seized, and that equity ownership of the bank was distributed by the central bank to Antigua itself and five bank defendants for little or no compensation.

It says the financial institutions that took ownership of the Bank of Antigua are Antigua Commercial Bank, St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank Ltd., Eastern Caribbean Financial Holdings Company Ltd., National Commercial Bank (SVG) Ltd., and National Bank of Dominica Ltd.

Stanford's financial empire was placed in the hands of a court-appointed attorney last year when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Stanford. The SEC accuses him of skimming more than $1 billion.

Stanford and the three executives pleaded not guilty to charges they ran a Ponzi scheme. Another former executive, James M. Davis, pleaded guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors.

The court-appointed receiver tracking down investors' lost money has said he hopes to gain control of more than $1.5 billion that would be returned to them. But an attorney representing the investors has said that goal may be unrealistic and victims should prepare to recover as little as 2 cents on the dollar.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Stanford Lost It All in a Year: Fortune, Yachts, Right to Name

Indicted financier Allen Stanford, accused a year ago by federal authorities of running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, has lost his fortune, his yachts and the right to use his own name -- and he hasn’t faced a jury yet.

As the jailed Texas businessman awaits trial, a court- appointed receiver has liquidated his businesses, two boats, six planes and stakes in a boutique hotel and golf course. The sell- off is part of an effort to recover more than $700 million in cash and assets the receiver has located to compensate investors allegedly bilked by Stanford, according to court filings.

“Even if Stanford is acquitted, he’ll have lost everything and get out of jail a pauper,” his criminal-defense lawyer, Kent A. Schaffer, said in an interview. “I’ve seen money and property taken away from somebody after he’s convicted, but I’ve never seen somebody wiped out pretrial.”

The receiver, Ralph Janvey, recovered $145.1 million as of Feb. 11. Out of that amount, operating expenses, receivership costs and fees have drained 40 percent, or $57.8 million, according to his law partner, Kristie Blumenschein. The possibility that Stanford may be acquitted has nothing to do with the liquidation of his assets, Blumenschein said.

“A criminal conviction of Stanford is not required or even legally relevant to whether the Stanford businesses should be under the control of a receiver,” she said. “The Stanford entities were hopelessly insolvent, and the outcome of Stanford’s criminal trial cannot change that basic fact.”

Worth $2.2 Billion

Stanford, 59, was ranked 205 on Forbes magazine’s 2008 list of the richest Americans with a net worth of $2.2 billion. The founder of Stanford Financial Group, based in Houston, he has denied accusations that he cheated investors by operating a Ponzi scheme through bogus certificates of deposit at Antigua- based Stanford International Bank Ltd.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Stanford for fraud and seized his businesses on Feb. 17, 2009. He has been in custody since a 21-count indictment was filed against him by a Houston federal grand jury in June. He faces a trial tentatively scheduled for Jan. 24.

“There’s close to a lynch-mob atmosphere” surrounding disgraced executives such as Stanford and convicted New York swindler Bernard Madoff, said David Kornblau, former chief litigation counsel for the SEC’s Enforcement Division, now a partner at Washington-based Covington & Burling LLP. “It creates a risk that the defendant is going to be irreparably harmed before he’s had a chance to vindicate himself in court.”

Stanford also lost the honorary knighthood given him by the Antiguan government for his economic development efforts there, where Stanford’s bank was located. The island country’s parliament stripped him of the title in November.

Lost His Name

Among the assets disposed of by Janvey was Stanford’s right to use his name on his businesses, which the receiver gave up to settle a trademark-infringement lawsuit with Stanford University that predated the financier’s arrest.

The university, near Palo Alto, California, claimed in a 2008 complaint that the use of “Stanford” in connection with financial services and the sponsorship of sporting events was confusing to the public.

Stanford’s lawyers in turn accused the university of creating “the illusion of overlap,” arguing in court papers that the differences between the university and the financial company prevented any confusion.

Janvey, named receiver in the SEC case against Stanford in early 2009, settled the suit by surrendering Allen Stanford’s right to use his name on Stanford Financial Group, Stanford Group Co. “and any other trade name containing the word Stanford,” the university’s lawyer Patrick Dunkley said.

Underpriced Assets

Some of the Stanford holdings sold off by the receiver garnered less than the jailed financier said they were worth, according to his attorneys.

Dick DeGuerin, Stanford’s now-former lawyer, said last year that his client’s private-equity investments were worth more than $1.9 billion. Janvey estimated in an October court filing the investment portfolio would sell for less than $32 million.

As of Feb. 11, Janvey had sold $38.4 million in Stanford assets and investments, including the financier’s stakes in an Israeli development fund for $4.1 million, a luxury Houston hotel for $2.7 million and a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course and country club near Memphis, Tennessee, for $3 million. He’s evaluating offers on additional holdings that may bring in another $12.7 million, Blumenschein said.

Two Eagles

Janvey received a $2.5 million offer for Stanford’s 112- foot yacht, the Sea Eagle, and a $150,000 offer for a smaller boat, the Little Eagle, according to court papers. He returned five corporate jets to their lender and sold a sixth plane, raising about $5 million from the sale of Stanford’s air fleet.

The receiver sold Stanford’s Panamanian bank and brokerage for $13.5 million after Venezuela nationalized and sold his operations in that country, which kept the $112 million in proceeds. Janvey said he expects to get another $8 million from the liquidation of Stanford’s remaining Latin American operations.

Janvey has begun selling Stanford’s corporate real estate, and he estimated in October the U.S. properties may raise $29 million. Among them are Stanford’s $7.3 million Houston headquarters, a $1 million airport hangar and a $1.3 million condominium occupied by Stanford’s adult daughter.

The receiver slashed the monthly operating cost of the 149 Stanford businesses in liquidation from $18.5 million to $454,000, partly by closing all U.S. and Mexican offices of Stanford Group Co., the flagship broker-dealer unit, Blumenschein said.

Antiguan Millions

Nigel J. Hamilton-Smith, a receiver for the bank appointed by the Antiguan government, has said more than $150 million in additional assets have been located in that country.

These include restaurants, tourist and sporting facilities such as a cricket ground intended for international competition, and the Antiguan island of Guiana, where Stanford planned a resort.

Janvey said he has located about $335 million in cash and equivalent Stanford-related investments overseas, primarily in the U.K., Switzerland and Canada. Some of those foreign assets are also claimed by the Antiguan receiver and the U.S. Justice Department.

John Nester, an SEC spokesman, and Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney declined to immediately comment on the status of Stanford and his holdings.

“Right now he feels like everything he’s worked a lifetime to build is gone, and he’s right,” said defense lawyer Schaffer. “If we ultimately recover his freedom, that’s a lot, but that’s all we’ll get.”

Tuesday, 16 February 2010


February 16, 2010 (Dallas) ‐ On the one‐year anniversary of the commencement of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement action against Allen Stanford and the top management of his global empire of financial companies, the victims of the $7.2 billion Ponzi scheme filed a class‐action lawsuit against the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), five Caribbean financial institutions, and the
government of Antigua and Barbuda. The lawsuit, filed by Morgenstern & Blue, LLC, seeks compensation for ECCB’s unlawful seizure last year of the Bank of Antigua, a crown jewel in Allen Stanford’s fallen financial empire.

“Instead of acting as a legitimate central bank, the ECCB became a partner in crime with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda when it seized the Bank of Antigua, a viable and valuable financial institution,” said attorney Peter D. Morgenstern. “The Bank of Antigua was, and remains, enormously valuable. All of that value rightfully belongs to Mr. Stanford’s victims.”

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court in Dallas, Texas, at the time of ECCB’s seizure of the Bank of Antigua, the bank had considerable value, including undisputed loan receivables from the government of Antigua and Barbuda worth at least tens of millions of dollars and possibly more. The complaint alleges the victims are entitled to compensation for the value of the Bank of Antigua when it was seized, determined by an independent auditing firm, as required under the ECCB’s governing treaty. Instead, equity ownership of the bank was distributed by the ECCB to Antigua itself and five bank defendants for little or no compensation. The financial institutions that took ownership of the Bank of Antigua are Antigua Commercial Bank, St. Kitts‐Nevis‐Anguilla National Bank Ltd., Eastern Caribbean Financial Holdings Company Ltd., National Commercial Bank (SVG) Ltd., and National Bank of Dominica Ltd.

“This action seeks redress for a second brazen act of thievery from Stanford investors, perpetrated in part even after the disclosure of the Stanford fraud in February 2009, and the appointment of receivers to marshal and distribute Stanford’s assets, in the United States and Antigua. This theft was perpetrated not
only by Stanford, but also by the Bank of Antigua’s putative regulator, ECCB, the government of Antigua, and by all too willing co‐conspirators at Caribbean‐based financial institutions which, unless this Court acts, will have obtained a multi‐million dollar windfall at the expense of Stanford’s many victims,” said Morgenstern.

In an effort to build awareness about the corruption deeply rooted in the Antiguan government that led to actions like the expropriation of 49 Stanford‐owned properties, including the Bank of Antigua, that belong to investors, the Stanford Victims Coalition (SVC), an international advocacy group for victims of the Stanford fraud, announced the launch of an international campaign to boycott Antigua and Barbuda.

The SVC campaign titled “Anti‐Crime, Anti‐Antigua,” calls on travel professionals, prospective tourists, and investors from around the world to send a clear message to the government of Antigua and Barbuda by boycotting Antiguan hotels and resorts, cruises to Antigua, investments in Antiguan financial institutions or in companies or ventures based in Antigua. The SVC, through its thousands of members, plans to increase its lobbying efforts with the United States government to build awareness of Antigua’s actions against U.S. citizens as well as citizens from over 130 countries. The comprehensive “Anti‐ Antigua” campaign includes plans to contact travel agents, trade publications, and attend travel trade shows, and will seek out professionals in the travel industry to partner with to garner support and promote justice for victims of corrupt governments like Antigua, which relies heavily on tourism and investments from the United States, Great Britain, and other home countries of Stanford victims, yet portrays itself as a friendly vacation paradise. The SVC’s “Anti‐Antigua” effort will work to create awareness that Antigua was Stanford’s co‐conspirator in crime, and has enriched itself at the expense of thousands of innocent people whose life savings were lost in the unprecedented Stanford fraud.

“Antigua was the recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars of Stanford investors’ money, through loans, bribes and flamboyant philanthropic gestures made by Allen Stanford with money stolen from investors,” said Angela Shaw, SVC founder and executive director. “Instead of acting with integrity and working toward efforts to help compensate the victims of this fraud, their government not only enabled, but profited from, Antigua continues to refuse to answer for its complicity in Stanford’s crimes, pay back the illegal loans it received, or return valuable real estate assets that it expropriated last year.”

“Developers, travel agents and tourists are urged to recommend and choose vacation destinations and investments in countries that respect the rights of foreign citizens and respect the rule of law,” Shaw said. “The SVC’s message to those groups is that Antigua has a long history of corruption and it has stolen property from 28,000 investors from around the world. Of all the vacation destinations in the world, Antigua should be at the very bottom of the list of places to visit.”

In a blatant act of disrespect toward Stanford’s many victims around the world – especially the citizens of Venezuela, the country with the largest number of victims of the Stanford fraud – Antigua recently partnered with President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who provided Antigua with $50 million of financing. Antigua also continues to actively seek financial assistance from the international community through requests for IMF and World Bank loans, as well as direct aid from governments in countries that are home to Stanford’s victims.

The SVC recently lobbied the U.S. government to help block aid to Antigua, an effort that resulted in the introduction of a United States Senate Resolution in December 2009, which was led by Senator Richard Shelby (R‐Alabama), ranking Republican member of the Senate Banking Committee, and cosponsored by eight senators. In remarks introducing the Resolution, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Member Johnny Isakson (R‐Georgia), said, “Allen Stanford bilked billions of dollars from innocent Americans through his Ponzi scheme, and the laws of Antigua shielded the Stanford Financial Group while it operated.”

“It is absurd that the Government of Antigua and Barbuda is standing in the way of helping victims,” said
Senator Shelby. “The United States will not accept such behavior.”

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Most lawmakers haven't returned donations from disgraced Texas banker Allen Stanford

By DAVE MICHAELS / The Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON – Most lawmakers haven't returned donations from disgraced Texas banker R. Allen Stanford despite pleadings from a federal receiver who is trying to get the money back for defrauded investors.

Dallas attorney Ralph Janvey is sending new letters this week demanding the funds from about 70 members of Congress, as well as the fundraising committees for Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate. Janvey is seeking more than $1.8 million in contributions from Stanford, his top corporate lieutenants and employees of his offshore bank and affiliated financial services companies.

"The funds used to make these contributions came directly from defrauded investors," said Kristie Blumenschein, a spokeswoman for Janvey. "Such payments were fraudulent transfers, and the receiver has requested that the funds be returned to the receivership estate as soon as possible."

Janvey first asked for the money in February 2009. But only about $88,000 has been returned to Janvey, who was appointed to recover Stanford's far-flung assets and return as much money as possible to investors.

Stanford; his former chief financial officer, James M. Davis; and his former chief investment officer, Laura Pendergest-Holt, were indicted in June for their roles in what the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission called a $7 billion Ponzi scheme involving high-interest certificates of deposit. Stanford International Bank Ltd. was based in Antigua.

Over the years, Stanford's robust lobbying team in Washington tried to weaken efforts to crack down on money laundering through offshore banks. Many of Stanford's top allies in Congress were Texans, including Rep. Pete Sessions of Dallas, who sent a sympathetic e-mail to Stanford the day he was charged.

If the lawmakers don't return the funds, Janvey could try to sue them to recover the money, said Phillip L. Stern, a Chicago securities attorney who previously worked as an enforcement attorney for the SEC.

"Ultimately, if they say no, he has to go to court," Stern said. "At which point these people would be able to argue that the receiver does not have the authority to recapture those funds."

Some lawmakers said last year they would donate Stanford's funds to charity, but most haven't even done that. Only about 15 of the 70 lawmakers on Janvey's list made any contributions from their campaign accounts to charities in 2009, according to CQ Moneyline, which tracks federal campaign donations.

And in most cases, their charitable contributions were less than the amount they received from Stanford.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee hasn't returned $950,000 it received from Stanford and his employees over the years. The National Republican Congressional Committee, chaired by Sessions, didn't return $238,500. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hasn't returned $202,000.

A spokesman for the Democratic Senate committee didn't return a message Wednesday seeking comment. An official with Sessions' committee said the group has no plans to return the funds.

Texas lawmakers who haven't returned Stanford contributions to their personal campaigns or political action committees include Sessions, who has said he donated a $2,000 Stanford contribution to charity; Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is running for governor; Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, D-San Antonio; Republican Sen. John Cornyn; Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land; and Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Stanford's Political Contributions

Political Contributions
Last Updated 2/9/2010

As part of the Receiver’s efforts to recover assets for the Receivership Estate, the Receiver
analyzed political contributions made by Stanford International Bank, Ltd., Stanford Group
Company, Stanford Capital Management, LLC, R. Allen Stanford, James M. Davis and Laura
Pendergest-Holt and certain entities they own or control. As a result of that effort, shortly after
the inception of the Receivership, the Receiver sent letters to each recipient of these political
contributions requesting that they be returned to the Receiver. As of January 31, 2010, the
Receiver had received $87,800 in returned contributions. A list of returned contributions is

Date Amount Source
03/24/09 $14,000 Shelby for US Senate
03/24/09 1,000 Barney Frank for Congress Committee
03/24/09 4,000 Arcuri for Congress
03/24/09 2,000 Neugebauer Congressional Committee
03/24/09 1,000 Marsha Blackburn for Congress
03/24/09 8,000 Friends for Harry Reid
03/24/09 1,500 David Scott for Congress
03/24/09 1,000 Freedom Funds - Mike Crapo, Honorary Chairman
03/30/09 11,500 Chris Dodd for President
03/30/09 16,000 Friends of Chris Dodd
03/30/09 2,500 Friends of Mark Warner
04/03/09 2,300 Minnick for Congress
04/03/09 2,000 Lloyd Doggett for Congress
04/07/09 3,000 Alexander for Senate 2014, Inc.
04/08/09 2,500 Collins for Senator
04/23/09 5,000 Friends of Jay Rockefeller
05/07/09 2,500 Campaign Account of Robert Wexler
06/18/09 3,000 Mel Watt for Congress
06/18/09 5,000 Friends of John Boehner
As of 1/31/10 $87,800 Total political campaign contributions returned

The Receiver is sending letters to those recipients of political contributions who have yet to
return them to the Receiver, requesting that they return an aggregate of $1.8 million as soon as
possible. A list of the recipients of the Receiver’s latest request is below:
Amount Recipient

950,000 Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
238,500 National Republican Congressional Committee
202,000 Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
128,500 Republican National Committee
83,345 National Republican Senatorial Committee
25,000 Rangel Victory Fund
10,000 New Jersey Democractic State Committee
10,000 Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX)
6,600 Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY)
6,100 Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)
5,000 Americans for a Republic Majority PAC
5,000 Delegate Donna Christensen (D-USVI)
5,000 Representative Charles Gonzalez (D-TX)
5,000 KPAC (affiliated with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas)
5,000 Lone Star Fund
5,000 Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY)
5,000 Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)
4,600 Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) (presidential campaign)
4,550 Representative Dan Maffei (D-NY)
4,000 Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)
4,000 Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
4,000 Representative Richard Neel (D-MA)
4,000 Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)
3,300 Representative Pete Olson (R-TX)
3,300 Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY)
3,000 Representative James E. Clyburn (D-SC)
3,000 Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-IL)
3,000 Leadership PAC 2006
2,550 Representative Eric Massa (D-NY)
2,550 Representative Mike McMahon (D-NY)
2,500 Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL)
2,500 Freedom Fund
2,500 Representative Timothy Johnson (R-IL)
2,500 Representative Paul Kanjorski (D-PA)
2,500 Senator Mary Landreiu (D-LA)
2,500 Representative John Lewis (D-GA)
2,500 Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
2,500 National Leadership PAC
2,500 Representative Adam Putnam (R-FL)
2,500 Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR)
2,500 Former Senator John Sunnunu (R-NH)
2,500 Representative John Tanner (D-TN)
2,500 Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS)
2,300 Representative John Boccieri (D-OH)
2,300 Representative Deborah Halvorson (D-IL)
2,300 Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
2,300 Olson-Texas Victory Committee
2,300 Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) Amount Recipient
2,100 Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
2,000 Representative Spencer Bachus (R-AL)
2,000 Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN)
2,000 Reprentative Kevin Brady (R-TX)
2,000 Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
2,000 Representative Dave Camp (R-MI)
2,000 Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
2,000 Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX)
2,000 Representative Patrick Tiberi (R-OH)
1,500 Representative Charles Boustany (R-LA)
1,500 Representative Sam Johnson (R-TX)
1,500 Representative Peter King (R-NY)
1,500 Representative Kendrick Meek (D-FL)
1,000 Representative Joe Barton (R-TX)
1,000 Senator Max Baucus (D-MT)
1,000 Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
1,000 Representative Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
1,000 Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN)
1,000 Former Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)
1,000 Senator Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND)
1,000 Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX)
2,000 Representative Donald Payne (D-NJ)
1,000 Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS)
500 Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN)
$1,825,495 Total Campaign Contributions Requested Be Returned

Political contributions from Mr. Stanford and his affiliated companies may be returned to the
Receivership Estate by contacting We will respond to
you with further directions.

Stanford's Former Security Chief Claims Vindication in Acquittal

In Rare Move, Judge Orders Acquittal of Ex-DEA Agent Tom Raffanello and Co-Defendant, Calling Evidence Weak

Feb. 12, 2010

The former head of the DEA's Miami office said he feels vindicated by his acquittal on federal charges of helping financier Allen Stanford hide evidence of an alleged $8 billion Ponzi scheme.

Houston financier, accused of helming a ponzi scheme, emotionally speaks out."I was an agent for over 30 years and I believed in the United States and I believed in the system and the system didn't fail me," told ABC News. "The system proved that what I said from day one was true."

In a rare move, Judge Richard Goldberg interrupted jury deliberations Friday to acquit Raffanello and codefendant Bruce Perraud, saying the evidence against the two former Stanford security employees was s "substantially lacking."

Raffanello, who worked as Stanford's security chief after leaving the DEA, said he never considered plea bargaining.

"I said from day one it wasn't true," said Raffanello. " I offered to correct the record, but no one would listen.

Janice Burton Sharpstein, one of Raffanello's defense attorneys, said the judge's ruling was very rare. "We witnessed a miracle," said Sharpstein, who said such rulings are usually made either before or after the jury deliberates, not during deliberations.

Asked for comment, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice in Washington said, "We're disappointed with the court's ruling."

Raffanello and Perraud were charged with four counts related to the shredding of documents, including obstruction of an SEC investigation and conspiracy, and could have faced up to 50 years in federal prison if convicted. Before going to work for Stanford as his security chief, Raffanello was a DEA agent for nearly 30 years, including a stint as head of the agency's Miami office.

Attorneys for the men had asked for a mistrial Friday after jurors, who began deliberating Thursday, sent a note to the judge saying they were confused about the law. Judge Richard Goldberg acquitted the defendants while the jury was still deliberating.

One of the defense attorneys had told ABC News Thursday he was confident the jury would return a verdict of not guilty. Ed Shohat, lawyer for computer technician Perraud, accused of shredding documents, cited a comment by Judge Goldberg during the trial about the quality of the government's case.

"He said the evidence was extremely thin," said Shohat. "The evidence was slight in this case that the defendants, Tom Raffanello and Bruce Perraud, had any intent to violate the law."

The two shredded documents at Stanford's Fort Lauderdale office in 2009 as the flamboyant financier's banking business was imploding. Stanford, currently awaiting trial in a Texas jail, is accused of ripping off investors in a pyramid scam.

The defense said that Raffanello and Perraud did not violate the law because the shredding was routine and the data was backed up on computers.

Prosecutors alleged that Raffanello had Perraud call in a shredding company even though he knew there was a federal investigation and he was not supposed to destroy documents.

The Miami Herald reported that in court on Wednesday, before the case went to the jury, Judge Richard Goldberg had called the prosecutors' evidence "slim."

A retired DEA agent who attended all but one day of the eight-day trial had echoed defense attorney Shohat's hope that the judge's comment might be reflected in the jury's verdict.

In this Monday, Feb. 23, 2004 file photo, Thomas W. Raffanello, left, Special Agent in Charge, Miami...
In this Monday, Feb. 23, 2004 file photo, Thomas W. Raffanello, left, Special Agent in Charge, Miami field division of the Drug Enforcement Administration speaks at a news conference in Miami. Raffanello, employed by accused swindler Allen Stanford, right, pleaded not guilty on Friday, Sept. 18, 2009 to charges that he illegally ordered shredding of documents in the fraud case.
(AP Photo/Getty Images)Jim Shedd said he thought the judge was going to throw out the case. "We were surprised when he didn't," said Shedd.

Shedd noted that many DEA agents, both retired and on-duty, attended the trial to show support for Raffanello, as did other law enforcement officers.

"There was a constant coming and going," said Shedd. "There was a point in time where we had all the benches full."

Alleged Ponzi Scheme
The defendants worked for "Sir" Allen Stanford, who is charged with fraud, conspiracy and obstruction in a 21-count federal indictment. If convicted, Stanford faces a maximum sentence of 250 years. Stanford surrendered to the FBI in Virginia in June 2009 and has pled not guilty. The government of the Caribbean island nation of Antigua, which had knighted Stanford in 2006, stripped him of his knighthood and his "Sir" in October 2009.

Billionaire Allen Stanford Rushed from Jail to HospitalBillionaire Allen Stanford Indicted, Charged with Fraud, ObstructionBillionaire Stanford Surrenders to FBI Authorities say Stanford and his alleged co-conspirators engaged in a scheme to defraud investors who purchased approximately $8 billion of CDs from the Stanford International Bank, an off-shore entity based in Antigua. Stanford and his co-defendants are accused of misusing and misappropriating most of their investment assets.

The indictment alleges that Stanford and his associates falsely claimed that the bank's assets had grown from $1.2 billion in 2001 to $8.5 billion by December 2008. The bank also allegedly made thousands of dollars in bribes to the former head of Antigua's Financial Services Authority to ensure the bank was not audited.

The Securities and Exchange Commission also filed a civil complaint alleging Stanford ran a fraud promising investors impossible returns, much like Bernard Madoff's $65 billion alleged Ponzi scheme.

In April 2009, Stanford told ABC News in an exclusive interview that he expected to be indicted soon, but denied that he had run any sort of Ponzi scheme.

"I would die and go to hell if it's a Ponzi scheme," Stanford said in reaction to the civil allegations from the SEC that he bilked thousands of customers in a scheme involving "self-styled certificates of deposits" with "improbable" rates of return.

'Baloney, Baloney'
"Baloney. Baloney," Stanford told ABC News. "It's not a Ponzi scheme . If it was a Ponzi scheme, why are they finding billions and billions of dollars all over the place?"

In August, Stanford's former chief financial officer James Davis pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail, wire and securities fraud, mail fraud, and conspiracy to obstruct a SEC investigation, in relation to the alleged scheme.

WATCH: Exclusive: Allen Stanford's Tearful InterviewSecurity Program for NYC Subways in 'Disarray,' State Comptroller Report FindsExclusive: Tearful Allen Stanford Expects Indictment in Two WeeksDavis' plea agreement brought forth bizarre details about the case, including the allegation that Stanford entered into a "blood oath" with Antiguan bank officials.

The plea agreement alleged that Stanford and Leroy King, the former administrator and CEO of Antigua's Financial Services Authority, participated in the brotherhood ceremony together with another employee of the Financial Services Regulatory Commission.

"This brotherhood oath was undertaken in order to extract an agreement from both King and the other FSRC employee that they, in exchange for regular cash bribe payments by Stanford to King and the other FSRC employee, would ensure that the Antiguan bank regulators would not 'kill the business' of SIBL," the agreement reads. It also said that Sanford's alleged fraud dates back to 1990.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Urgently Seeking British HSBC Bank Investors in SIB

We are urgently seeking British investors who have HSBC accounts and bought CD's (Certificates of deposit) in Stanford International bank through HSBC.
We believe there is a strong possibility of being able to make a case for compensation against HSBC, anyone that may be able to help is invited to contact me via


Source - Jamaica Observer

The state-owned Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) has disconnected the electricity and water at yet another company of disgraced Texan financier, Sir Allen Stanford.

Yesterday, APUA disconnected the utilities at the Stanford Development Company (SDC). It was not immediately clear how much SDC owes APUA or how many workers have been affected but reports put the combined total arrears for all of the Stanford-owned companies at EC$7 million (US$2.7 million).

Last week, APUA officials turned up at the Sticky Wicket restaurant in Coolidge, the Antigua Athletics Club, The Pavilion Restaurant, Stanford Trust and the VC Bird International Airport car park to collect monies owed to them for electricity and water, telephone and Internet. When the monies were not paid they disconnected the utilities.

In a radio broadcast Sunday, Opposition Leader Lester Bird accused the Baldwin Spencer government of sitting idly by while allowing more than 100 workers to be dismissed from their jobs because of outstanding arrears owed to the utility company.

The Stanford companies have been in financial trouble ever since the financier was charged a year ago for an alleged US$7 billion fraud that United States authorities said he conducted through his Antigua-based Stanford International Bank.

His companies also include the Stanford Twenty20 cricket franchise.
Sir Allen, 59, who was arrested 10 months ago, is in jail in the United States awaiting trial.

Monday, 8 February 2010

TODAY... from VANTIS, Antigua

The Joint Liquidators of Stanford International Bank Ltd – in Liquidation (SIB), Nigel Hamilton-Smith and Peter Wastell of Vantis Business Recovery Services, wish to provide an update regarding the location and status of known SIB assets and their recovery. The international pursuit of SIB assets for creditors continues to be the central feature of the recovery process and, in the interests of transparency and a commitment to regular communication with affected stakeholders, further communications will be issued as and when developments take place.

To date, circa US$100 million has been located in the United Kingdom (UK). In order to gain control of these assets, the Joint Liquidators sought formal recognition of their appointment. On 3 July 2009, the High Court of Justice of England and Wales issued a judgment in favour of the Joint Liquidators, confirming that the Centre of Main Interest of SIB is Antigua and Barbuda. An appeal against this decision by the US Receiver, Mr Ralph Janvey, was heard by the High Court between 16 and 20 November 2009. The hearing also dealt with an appeal from the UK Serious Fraud office on behalf of the United States of America (US) Department of Justice (DOJ) which has sought to restrain the same funds for forfeiture to the DOJ as proceeds of crime. The outcome is awaited and further notification will be issued when the judgment is handed down.

In the US, several proactive and meaningful discussions have been held with the US Receiver and his advisers, and the Joint Liquidators are hopeful that a working co-operation agreement can be established. As such, an agreement will be subject to regulatory and judicial approval in both jurisdictions. A conclusion is unlikely before March 2010, but a successful cooperation of this kind will lead to a significant reduction in costs for the SIB creditors.

In Antigua, at the commencement of winding-up, an application by a creditor was made for an alternate office holder. This was unsuccessful in the Antiguan courts. A further application by the same creditor has again been made and this matter will be before the courts in the near future. It is not believed that this application holds any merit, nor any legal basis. However, this further piece of litigation will need to be settled by the Antiguan judiciary.

In the meantime, the Joint Liquidators have been successful in tracing substantial investments into offshore companies which have revealed significant land assets in Antigua, valued in excess of US$150 million. Additional land holdings, registered in other Caribbean companies originally controlled by Mr Allen Stanford, are currently being investigated. It is expected that realizations from these sources will become available to creditors.

Significant lines of inquiry are also being pursued regarding claims against Mr Stanford. The Joint Liquidators anticipate this will result in a further realization of assets.
The Joint Liquidators have made an application under the Bankruptcy & Insolvency Act in Canada for recognition of its appointment and control of the funds held in the country. These number approximately US$20 million. At the same time, Mr Janvey made the same application. During August 2009, the Superior Court of Quebec held a hearing, following which it concluded that Mr Janvey should be recognized and control of the funds should be passed to him.

Legal counsel for the Joint Liquidators considered that the decision provided by the court was erroneous and, accordingly, submitted an appeal that was heard during December 2009. The Court of Appeal upheld the decision. The Joint Liquidators retain the right to take this matter to the Supreme Court of Canada and the matter is currently with their legal advisers.

In Switzerland, applications have been made to the Swiss Financial Regulator, FINMA, for recognition and control of the assets based in the country, valued in excess of US$100 million. In addition to the Joint Liquidators’ application, Mr Janvey and the DOJ have made a similar application for control of the funds. The matter is currently with the Swiss Financial Services Regulator and the decision is pending.
Both Nigel Hamilton-Smith and Peter Wastell are keen to ensure that the interests of the creditors remain paramount throughout all these proceedings.

The Vantis Online Claims Management System is proving to be instrumental in assisting with the agreement of several thousand SIB creditors’ claims. Any creditor who has not yet registered their claim, is urged to do so at to ensure any early agreement of claims.
Further communications will be issued when practicable.
For information relating to SIB, creditors are invited to visit or email

Investors fight freeze

Hundreds of Baton Rouge-area residents are asking a Dallas federal judge not to freeze their local civil suits against Louisiana and people who allegedly helped now-notorious Texas promoter Robert Allen Stanford swindle more than $7 billion.

“That would be a financial death sentence for some of these people,” Baton Rouge lawyer Phillip W. Preis said Friday of the proposed freeze.

Preis said he represents between 400 and 500 Stanford investors in a class-action suit in state District Court against the Stanford Trust Co., Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions, and Pennsylvania-based SEI Investments Co.

Many of his clients are retirees, Preis noted. He said some don’t have the time and stamina or money to wait years to pursue their claims.

Preis said it will take years for federal prosecutors and securities regulators to finish their pending litigation against the man alleged to have turned investor deposits into his personal piggy bank.

Stanford, 59, is in federal custody in Houston, where he is scheduled to be tried next year on charges that he masterminded frauds that hurt approximately 30,000 investors in more than 100 countries.

The Securities and Exchange Commission sued Stanford and several of his associates a year ago in Dallas. And Dallas lawyer Ralph Janvey was appointed as the receiver responsible for locating, seizing and managing as many Stanford assets as possible for the eventual benefit of defrauded investors.

Janvey, with support from the SEC, told U.S. District Judge David Godbey, of Dallas, last month that all Stanford litigation outside his receivership and the criminal case in Houston should be halted.

Otherwise, Janvey argued, his receivership would be wasting recovered investor funds to provide information necessary for dozens of civil suits in Louisiana, Texas and other states.

Last year, however, Janvey sued Stanford investors in Louisiana and other states for assets they had not lost at the collapsed Stanford International Bank on the Caribbean island of Antigua.

Janvey argued that investments partially recovered prior to Stanford’s collapse should be confiscated and shared with all investors.

Although the SEC and Godbey said such action was not permissible against innocent investors who did not receive profits, Janvey pursued his suit all the way to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

And the 5th Circuit ordered Janvey to return nearly $900 million to hundreds of investors whose accounts he had frozen.

Janvey and his team of attorneys, accountants, investigators and other professionals are paid from the assets recovered on behalf of investors. That includes the cost of all litigation, including failed suits against investors.

Preis told Godbey last week that Janvey’s efforts against innocent investors already have diminished the receivership estate by 23 percent.

Last month, Dallas attorney John J. Little told Godbey that Janvey’s team had billed the receivership for $41 million of the first $128.8 million recovered for defrauded investors. Little was appointed by Godbey to represent the interests of those investors.

Preis wrote Godbey on Wednesday that Janvey’s pursuit of Stanford brokers has been less aggressive than his pursuit of investors.

One of the suits Preis filed in Baton Rouge is targeted at Stanford brokers who sold certificates of deposit in Stanford International Bank.

Preis told Godbey the slow pace of Janvey’s recovery efforts, coupled with his rapid burn through investor assets, will prove devastating to Louisiana retirees if they are not permitted to pursue their own civil suits now.

“If not now, then when will the Louisiana retiree investors have their day in court?” Preis asked Godbey. “One year has passed. The action of the receiver (Janvey) has turned logic on its head.

“The receiver has spent more funds pursuing the Louisiana retirees than going after other third parties involved in the scheme,” Preis told Godbey.

Two of the targets of Preis’ class-action suit deny responsibility for Stanford investors’ losses.

The third target, Stanford Trust Co., was shut down last year.

Preis’ class-action suit alleges, however, that officials of the state Office of Financial Institutions knew as early as 2007 that Stanford Trust Co. was endangering the retirement funds of Louisiana investors.

The state owes a debt to those investors for OFI’s failure to protect them, the suit alleges.

Not so, New Orleans attorney David Latham responded on behalf of OFI.

Latham denied Preis’ allegations in documents filed with state District Judge R. Michael Caldwell in Baton Rouge.

“The role of OFI is to regulate, not to ensure that those who invest in companies subject to OFI regulation will never lose money as a result of criminal actions,” Latham wrote.

Pennsylvania-based SEI Investments Co. also is a defendant in the class-action suit filed by Preis.

On Dec. 30, New Orleans attorney Duris L. Holmes wrote Caldwell that SEI provided office administration services for Stanford Trust.

But any allegations that SEI was responsible for any mistakes by Stanford officials are unfounded, Holmes said. Allegations that SEI performed any valuation or marketing services connected to the sale of certificates of deposit at Stanford International Bank, Holmes added, “are false.”

In Dallas, Godbey has not announced when he will rule on Janvey’s request for a freeze of all litigation such as the investor suit against OFI and SEI.

If granted, Preis told Godbey, that freeze “suffocates any potential recovery that the retirees who invested in (individual retirement accounts) through the Stanford Trust would have.”