By Andrew Harris and Tom Korosec on April 26, 2012
A group of Stanford International Bank Ltd. depositors asked a U.S. judge to order the receiver he appointed and rival bank liquidators selected by a Caribbean court to collaborate on a process to pay victims of R. Allen Stanford’s $7 billion fraud scheme.
The depositors and other creditors of the Houston-based Stanford Group Co. securities firm filed their request today with U.S. District Judge David Godbey.
The judge yesterday described as “mind boggling” the continuing dispute between Dallas lawyer Ralph Janvey, whom Godbey appointed in February 2009 to collect and liquidate Stanford assets to pay off creditors, and the two Grant Thornton accountants asked to do comparable work by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court for Antigua and Barbuda.
“Something is terribly wrong here,” the Stanford depositors and creditors told Godbey in today’s filing. “This simply should not have been that hard.”
A federal jury in Houston in March convicted Stanford, 62, of leading a international banking fraud scheme centered on the sale of certificates of deposit by his Antigua-based bank. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 14.
Godbey yesterday declined to immediately grant Janvey’s request that he set a deadline for the filing of claims by Stanford’s fraud victims. The receiver was appointed after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit against Stanford and his bank.
“I’m not saying that I want it to be a fixed price contract,” the judge said, adding that he sought assurance “we are not going to spend another $50 million.”
Janvey’s outside counsel, Kevin Sadler of Houston-based Baker Botts LLP, told the court he would file a cost estimate within two days.
The Janvey and Grant Thornton receivers have spent about $150 million in their global efforts to recover Stanford assets, according to the creditors’ filing today. They haven’t agreed on a unified plan for processing victim claims and payments.
‘Round and Round’
“We’ve gone round and round and have not come up with anything that’s acceptable,” Joseph Wielebinski, a lawyer for the Antiguan liquidators, said in court yesterday, relaying his clients’ objections to the setting of a claims bar date.
“Nobody is more sensitive to that issue than the receiver,” Sadler told Godbey. “We are very anxious to start the process.”
“Unfortunately,” the Stanford creditors said in their filing, “it appears that it will take firm and unambiguous action by the court to right this ship.
” The creditors said they seek a court-ordered day-long session involving representatives of the Janvey receivership, the Antiguan liquidators and victims’ advocates.
“In the event an agreement is not reached, movants respectfully move the court to fashion a single claims process,” they said.
Miami attorney Edward H. Davis, who represents the Grant Thornton liquidators, didn’t reply to an e-mailed request for comment.
Sadler, in a telephone interview, called the filing by creditors’ lawyer Stephen Malouf “very unfortunate and very ill-timed.”
“He just doesn’t know how much time the receiver, the SEC, the creditors committee and the examiner have spent negotiating with the Antiguans,” Sadler said. The parties have had “innumerable meetings,” in the past year, making what he described as a “considerable effort to reach some kind of an agreement.”
Sadler said the Antiguans maintain they are the only legally authorized liquidators of the Stanford bank and as such, “they want to be in control of everything.” It has been impossible to dislodge them from that position, he said.
Almost $3.5 billion in claims have already been submitted to the Janvey receivership without a formal claims process in place, Sadler said.
“You have to have a claims process in place before you can distribute one dime,” he said.
The SEC case is Securities and Exchange Commission v. Stanford International Bank Ltd., 09-cv-00298, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas). The criminal case is U.S. v. Stanford, 09-cr-00342, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston).
Published: 12:49 PM 04/26/2012 By Matthew Boyle – The Daily Caller
President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign plans to return campaign donations to alleged Ponzi-schemer Shervin Neman, but is keeping money from a bundler who helped convicted Ponzi-schemer R. Allen Stanford and other alleged financial criminals get tax breaks.
Neman is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and is accused of running a $7.54 million Ponzi scheme. According to public records, he gave the maximum allowable $35,800 to Obama’s re-election campaign and another $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee.
An unnamed Obama campaign official told Politico Wednesday that the president plans to return the money to Neman. “With 1.8 million donors thus far, we constantly review those contributions for issues,” the unnamed Obama campaign official said. “In this particular case, we will be refunding the contributions and have placed the funds in escrow until a trusteeship or other appropriate place to return these funds is established given the interests of the investors.”
Despite his rhetoric railing against them, Obama has a history of taking campaign contributions from alleged and convicted financial criminals – and people connected to them. The Obama campaign also has a history of returning money in some cases. For instance, the Obama campaign took money from people connected to former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine’s MF Global collapse. Obama actually removed bundler Ron Klein for his connections to Corzine’s financial activity.
But, the campaign continues to remain silent when it comes to its U.S. Virgin Islands bundler Marjorie Rawls Roberts – who helps her wealthy clients navigate offshore tax loopholes in the territory. Roberts, who has pledged to raise between $100,000 and $200,000 for Obama’s 2012 campaign, has helped people like Stanford, who was convicted of running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme, and alleged financial criminals from the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, with their applications for tax breaks.
DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse and Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt haven’t returned The Daily Caller’s numerous requests for comment on Roberts. Even so, her political toxicity may have reached critical mass in recent weeks as DNC chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz canceled a scheduled fundraiser in the U.S. Virgin Islands at the last minute after TheDC revealed the bundler’s ties to convicted and alleged financial criminals.
Dear KLS-Stanford Clients:
As you know, we filed the class action lawsuit against the United States government for its role in ignoring the Stanford Ponzi scheme and allowing the fraud to proceed unchecked for years. In response, the United States moved to dismiss the complaint on jurisdictional grounds. The United States is arguing that the government is immune from suit based on a statute that exempts it from liability for certain discretionary actions. The government claims that it has discretion over the methods by which it investigates and regulates the securities industry, and so it is immune from prosecution relating to its investigation and regulation of the Stanford entities. Indeed, the government has successfully used this argument to obtain the dismissal of a related Stanford case, as well as multiple similar cases against the government relating to the Madoff Ponzi scheme. However, our complaint does not allege liability on the basis of discretionary actions. Rather, our complaint alleges that the government failed to adhere to specific, mandatory requirements over which it had no discretion to ignore. This argument is fully explained and explored in our opposition to the motion to dismiss which we filed on Friday.
Attached is a copy of the government’s motion to dismiss and our opposition. The government will now have an opportunity to file a brief in reply to our opposition, and then the Court will rule on the motion. We are optimistic that the Court will rule in our favor, but are prepared to immediately appeal should the Court grant the motion to dismiss. We will provide another update as soon as the Court rules on the motion. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The KLS-Stanford Team