The government of Antigua & Barbuda has released parcels of lands and properties owned by R Allen Stanford into the hands of joint liquidators.
Attorney General Justin Simon, as a result, vows that eventually, those who have filed financial claims against the investor will receive their just due.
“… the government has released from its acquisition process the three parcels of land, two of them vacant at the Bank of Antigua headquarters at the airport, which are owned by Stanford international Bank and also the Pelican Island property in St Phillip’s North in which Stanford International Bank has a 100 per cent beneficial interest,” Simon told the Lower House on Thursday.
He also further listed the Bank of Antigua building in St John’s among more properties released, and noted that certain assets and liabilities of that bank will be sold to the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamate Bank (ECAB).
“Government has also released from its acquisition process the three parcels of land in St John’s – the two vacant on High Street and the third housing the bank branch of the Bank of Antigua on the corner of High and Thames Streets to the owner, The Bank of Antigua Limited, at the request of the Bank of Antigua, which continues to be managed by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank,” Simon announced.
He added, “The plan which is envisaged Madame Speaker, is that certain of the assets and liabilities of the Bank of Antigua will be sold to a new corporate entity (ECAB), the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamate Bank, which is made up of the various indigenous banks within the OECS, who then be taking over the Bank of Antigua, so that the depositors, creditors, persons who save would all be protected in the long run.”
According to a new company registration list, the directors of ECAB are Edmund Lawrence, Robert Norstorm, Gladston Joseph, Derry Williams, Gregory Degannes, Craig Walter, and Whitfied Harris.
The AG added that in respect of the legal challenge filed by other Stanford entities against the compulsory acquisition of the parcels of land, the consent order was approved and filed by May 19. Simon said although the government will move to release more land, a hold remain in place for others.
“…the government is to release or revest all of the other lands titled to the various Stanford entities save and except for eight parcels within the airport compound to include the parcels on the airside of the VC Bird Airport, adjoining the disused runway-10, along with the former and current car park,” Simon said.
He explained that the hold on certain property in the vicinity of the airport is for security reasons and future development of the area.
“Government has released a number of those various parcels of land and held on to those at the airport which are necessary in respect to the security of the VC Bird International Airport, and also essential in terms of the future expansion of the airport,” Simon said, “and the car park which we think from a public point of view in an international airport has to be controlled and owned by the government of Antigua and Barbuda.”
Simon, who is responsible for legal affairs, said the issue of compensation for these parcels in accordance with the Land Acquisition Act has to be settled. He indicated that the parties will have to complete an agreement within six months of the date of the order.
The AG said earlier this week, he received communication from the joint liquidators of Stanford International Bank Limited (SIBL), Nigel Hamilton Smith and Peter Wistel of Vantis Business Recovery Services, who were appointed by the High Court of Antigua & Barbuda in April 2009.
He said they have advised that following negotiations, a co-operation agreement between themselves and US receiver Ralph Janvey has been filed with both the High Court of Antigua and Barbuda and the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
The agreement, which is subject to approval by both courts, seeks to bring an end to the legal challenges that have been taking place between the joint liquidators and the US receivers in relation to SIBL assets throughout the world.
He pointed out that the agreement proposes that the US receiver will deal with the “realization of assets” in the United States and in Canada, while the joint liquidators will deal with the realization of assets located in Antigua & Barbuda and the United Kingdom. Simon said this should end the legal battle between the two.
Furthermore, he said the agreement will provide a platform for both parties to co-operate and share information to assist in their efforts to claim assets covered by the agreement and also in countries not covered by the agreement.
Simon said he is conscious of the longstanding claims made by trade creditors, ex-employees, and APUA, as well as the allegations made by the Stanford Victims Coalition (SVC) in the United States that their SIBL deposits were used to purchase and develop many Stanford properties.
Moreover, the AG said he was informed by the joint liquidators that based on their investigation, it appears that up to US$1.5 billion was loaned to R Allen Stanford by SIBL through Stanford-owned US companies.
As a result, Simon said that the new co-operation agreement signed by the liquidators and the US receiver will allow them to trace those monies to the real and personal assets in corporate entities both locally, in the US, and elsewhere.