Diario Judío México - R. Allen Stanford ‘s liquidators from Antigua were awarded control of 120 million pounds ($196 million) in U.K. assets seized in a fraud probe in a London court battle with U.S. receivers.
Liquidators appointed in the U.S. and Antigua failed to agree on who should control the funds held by Antigua-based Stanford International Bank Ltd. in the U.K. Stanford was indicted last month on U.S. charges he swindled investors out of more than $7 billion.
Justice Kim Lewison in a ruling today awarded the funds to Antiguan liquidators who were appointed to oversee the Stanford International Bank assets, saying “they should be permitted to remit those assets (or any realization of them) to Antigua.”
Stanford, 59, has been in custody since June 18, when he was arrested after a Houston grand jury indicted him for allegedly running a Ponzi scheme involving certificates of deposit sold by Stanford International Bank. The liquidators are also clashing in federal court in Texas over which has the authority to recover Stanford’s global assets.
Ralph Janvey, the U.S. liquidator, said the ruling was “wrongly decided and should be reversed” in a statement posted on his Web site. Stanford’s U.K. assets were frozen under two different London court orders, issued separately at the request of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.K. Serious Fraud Office, he said.
‘Rebutted Our Efforts’
“Unless and until a U.K. court lifts or modifies the freeze” or both agencies request that the orders be lifted, Stanford’s London-based assets will remain frozen under the control of U.K. authorities and won’t be transferred to the Antiguan liquidators, Janvey said.
Nigel Hamilton-Smith, the joint liquidator of Stanford International Bank, said he will work with the SEC and the Serious Fraud Office to arrange the release of the frozen funds. Other proceedings continue in the U.S., Switzerland and Canada.
“Janvey has rebutted all our efforts to cooperate and we hope that this court ruling will help him change his mind,” Hamilton-Smith said in an interview. “It is atrocious that these court battles are costing the creditors money.”
“We’re very encouraged,” Dick DeGuerin, Stanford’s criminal-defense lawyer, said in an e-mail today. “Eventually, the truth will emerge that before the SEC stepped in and destroyed much of the value of the Stanford companies, the assets were more than sufficient to secure the investors and customers of the global Stanford operations. The London court has recognized that the U.S. receiver’s efforts to grab everything greatly exceed his authority.”
$1 Billion Found
At a hearing last month, lawyers for the Antiguan liquidators argued that since Stanford International Bank was established and incorporated on the island, its assets should be liquidated there. The U.S. liquidators told the court that Stanford’s global operations were based in Houston and the U.S. receivers were responsible for distributing the bulk of his assets to creditors.
Both receivers have issued reports stating they have located less than $1 billion in assets, far less than needed to repay holders of $7.2 billion in certificates of deposit at the Antiguan bank.