US suspected Allen Stanford’s ‘Ponzi schemes’ long before ECB deal: WikiLeaks

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

LONDON - The United States was concerned about rumours of “bribery, money-laundering and political manipulation” surrounding Allen Stanford even before the Texan billionaire signed a 20 million deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2008, according to a classified US diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks.

The concerns are revealed in a cable dated May 3, 2006, detailing a meeting between Stanford and the US Ambassador to Barbados in Bridgetown, which was also attended by the Barbados Prime Minister and cricket legends signed up by Stanford to push his idea for a series of Twenty20 competitions.

“Allen Stanford is a controversial Texan billionaire who has made significant investments in offshore finance, aviation, and property development in Antigua and throughout the region,” the Guardian quoted the cable, as saying.

“His companies are rumoured to engage in bribery, money-laundering and political manipulation,” it added.

The cable also makes it clear that the embassy staff were told to steer clear of Stanford.

“Embassy officers do not reach out to Stanford because of the allegations of bribery and money-laundering. The ambassador managed to stay out of any one-on-one photos with Stanford during the breakfast,” the cable said.

“For his part, Stanford said he preferred to conduct his business without contacting the embassy, resolving any investment disputes directly with local governments. It is whispered in the region that Stanford facilitates resolution with significant cash contributions,” it added.

In June 2008, Stanford and the ECB had signed a deal for five Twenty20 internationals between England and a West Indies all-star XI with a total prize fund of 20 million dollars to be awarded to the team that wins the championship.

It was the largest prize ever offered to a team for a single tournament.

In early 2009, Stanford became the subject of several fraud investigations, and on February 17, 2009, was charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with fraud and multiple violations of U.S. securities laws for alleged “massive ongoing fraud” involving eight billion dollars in certificates of deposits.

On February 27, 2009, the SEC amended its complaint to describe the alleged fraud as a “massive Ponzi scheme”.

He was arrested by the FBI on June 18, 2009. (ANI)

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