DALLAS, Texas,CMC – A group of former investors of the Antigua-based Stanford International Bank (SIB) has filed a civil lawsuit here against Antigua and Barbuda and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), claiming that they aided jailed Texas billionaire Allen Stanford in his massive US$7 billion Ponzi scheme.
The former investors, calling themselves the Official Stanford Investors Committee, are seeking repayment of at least US$90 million in loans that Stanford allegedly made to Antigua and Barbuda.
“Antigua knowingly provided necessary assistance to Stanford’s US$7 billion Ponzi scheme and, in exchange, received millions of dollars in loans whose repayment terms Stanford did not enforce,” the committee alleged in a complaint filed in Dallas federal district court.
Stanford, 62, was convicted in March of masterminding the Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors through the sale of bogus certificates of deposit at the SIB. He is currently serving a 110-year sentence in a Florida federal prison as he appeals his conviction.
Testimony at Stanford’s trial revealed that the financier allegedly bribed former Antigua banking regulator Leroy King to falsify audits certifying SIB’s investment returns and misleading US securities regulators investigating Stanford’s operations. King is yet to be extradited to the US to face criminal charges.
The former investors have separately sued the ECCB, which nationalized Stanford’s other financial institution in Antigua, the Bank of Antigua, after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) seized Stanford’s enterprises on suspicion of fraud in February 2009.
“The considerable value of the Bank of Antigua, believed to be in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, should be distributed as compensation to its rightful owners, Stanford’s victims and creditors,” said the committee in the lawsuit.
In an earlier suit, Tom Bayko, Antigua and Barbuda’s attorney, said the island was protected from such litigation by foreign sovereign immunity.
Ralph Janvey, Stanford’s court-appointed receiver, has also filed another lawsuit against 23 former Stanford Financial Group Company executives, claiming breach of fiduciary duty. The former directors and officers of Stanford’s operations include three executives convicted of furthering the Ponzi scheme.
The suit seeks return of all compensation from these individuals, some of whom have been previously sued by the receiver on similar claims.
“Many directors and officers simply looked the other way, while others actively assisted Stanford in defrauding thousands of people out of billions of dollars,” said Kevin Sadler, Janvey’s lead lawyer, in the filing in Dallas federal district court.
He claimed that the former executives and directors “put their continued employment and substantial compensation ahead of the best interests of the entities they were hired to serve.”