Wednesday, 08 August 2012 02:30
By press release
For his role in the infamous US $7 billion Ponzi scheme, R Allen Stanford will be locked away in a Texas jail for the rest of his natural life. But the saga continues as the people he defrauded continue the quest to recoup even a fraction of the monies they lost.
Below is an appeal from some of Stanford’s victims, Latin American group COViSAL, to the Joint Liquidators of the Stanford International Bank Limited, Marcus Wide and Hugh Dickson.
Dear Mr. Wide and Mr. Dickson,
We, non-US citizens, victims of the fraud perpetrated by R. Allen Stanford, gathered to defend our rights in the Coalición Víctimas de Stanford, América Latina (“COViSAL”), urge you to comply with Judge Godbey's Order issued on July 31, 2012.
COViSAL consists of more than 600 duly registered families and over 1,000 unregistered members and followers who were robbed hundreds of millions of dollars with fraudulent CD’s from Stanford International Banks Ltd. (“SIBL”). They are citizens from countries in Latin America, Central America, the Caribbean, Canada, and Europe. The majority of affected victims are modest people, families with children, some sick or with special needs - many are elderly, ill and/or close to retirement - who are now unable to pay for their critical medical treatments because they lost all of their life savings.
COViSAL has been recognized by the authorities responsible for finding resolutions to the Stanford Case. Recently, we were invited by the U.S. District Judge David Hittner of the Southern District of Texas to present our testimony at the Stanford’s sentencing hearing. COViSAL also received an invitation from the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) to attend a forum in Washington.
Where are the Latin American and international victims located?
Of the total of 21,739 Stanford’s victims, 84% are non-US citizens, and 70% are victims from Latin America. The largest groups of victims are in the Americas, and they are:
Venezuela: 9,278 total depositors (43%); $2 billion dollars in claims (28%).
United States: 3,409 depositors (16%); $1.6 billion dollars in claims (22%).
Mexico: 3,604 depositors (17%); $1.3 billion dollars in claims (17%).
Colombia: 887 depositors (4%); $294 million in claims (4%).
Perú: 482 depositors (2.2%); $167 million in claims (2.3%).
Ecuador: 408 depositors (1.9%); $79 million in claims (1%).
Why did victims from Latin America purchase the certificates of deposit (“CDs”) from SIBL?
Latin Americans deposited their savings in SIBL to preserve them from the unwise economic policies of their countries of origin, to save for emergency medical expenses, to ensure their children's education, and to guarantee a
dignified old age during retirement.
Mr. Marcus Wide said in the online presentation (Webinar) on October 11, 2011: “… One of the reasons people invested in Stanford International Bank was that it was not the US, it was outside the US, and to find suddenly that you are dealing with the US Government with respect to your account may be distasteful, and not what was intended by people who put money there.” Link to listen in English the paragraph mentioned above:
However, the reality for the Latin American victims was the opposite. The majority of Latin Americans deposited their savings in SIBL because it was one among hundreds of companies that made up the Stanford Financial Group (“SFG”), an American holding that operated in and from the United States under U.S. regulations.
The never-ending Saga
Three (3) years, five months and 21 days have passed since our savings were stolen; so far, all we have seen is how the remnants of our savings are vanishing in the millions of dollars in legal fees, expenses and a useless jurisdictional battle between you and the US Receiver. Additionally, you continue to spend our money in legal fights against the DOJ for the control of the $330 million dollars frozen in Europe and Canada.
COViSAL’s members as well as other Stanford’s victims do not want you to keep $66 million dollars for the development of uncertain real estate projects in Antigua, to finance lawsuits against third parties, or to pay for professional fees. We want the $330 million dollars distributed, completely and directly, to SIBL’s CD victims, and under the guidelines and supervision of the DOJ.
Now, since you are “acting under the auspices of Grant Thornton, the 5th largest accounting firm in the world,” and proudly boast of your 60 years of experience as an insolvency professional, then why does not Grant Thornton provide the financing for the recovery of our stolen assets? Why do innocent victims have to assume all the risk?
If you are so confident about recovering 40-50% of our patrimony, as you mentioned in your recent communication to the creditors, why don’t you work on a contingency-fee basis system?
Why continue to disregard the fact that this crime is causing innocent victims to die by delaying the restitution of their stolen money and safety net? Why continue to misuse what it is left of our savings?
What happened to the implementation of the “Victim-Creditor Centered Philosophy” preached by you on the Webinar of October 11, 2011? That philosophy reads:
“Mr. Wide and Mr. Dickson understand that the SIB creditor body is made up of thousands of innocent victims, many of whom have lost their life savings or nest eggs, and they are committed to working toward maximizing the victims, recovery as quickly as possible.
Mr. Wide and Mr. Dickson are committed to a transparent, victim-driven, liquidation process.
Mr. Wide and Mr. Dickson are committed to seeking cooperation and collaboration and to avoiding competition and confrontation to the fullest extent possible and as long as that approach is consistent with their duties and best interests of the creditors-victims.
Mr. Wide and Mr. Dickson are committed to running a cost-effective liquidation to maximize distribution to the creditor-victims.”
Source: Joint Liquidators Webinar Presentation October 11, 2011; http://www.scribd.com/doc/102090020
Up to this point, we feel that our interests are not adequately represented because we perceive that the instinct of the auditing and asset recovery firms is mainly focused on growing their business through the generation of fees and expenses, while the victims remain at the bottom of the barrel.
What is more, we wonder, why haven’t you taken any legal action against the Antigua Government which owes the Stanford’s patrimony more than $100 million dollars?
We ask for clarity and transparency; and the end of a self-serving economic interest that irrationally pursues control over the assets, wasting what is recovered of our patrimony in a never-ending and unnecessary legal tug of war.
U.S. District Judge David Godbey’s Order
Judge Godbey ruled that the Center of Main Interest (“COMI”) for all the Stanford entities was in the United States (“U.S.”), and consequently, the U.S. is the epicenter of Stanford’s $7 billion dollars international fraud scheme.
Clearly, SIBL was a front used to camouflage the scheme from the United States regulators and others; a fraud that was orchestrated, controlled and managed from the United States.
The Court criticized your actions and tactics for your “repeated interference” with the US Receivership, and considered them as being the norm more than the exception. We were, to some extent, surprised that the Court noted that you had “admitted seeking funds first to fund your current operations, which include challenging the Receiver’s authority worldwide, not to distribute to investors/victims and creditors".
It is time to be less “litigious and calculating," and more cooperative and trustworthy. You should seriously consider implementing the “Victim-Creditor Centered Philosophy" and what you additionally expressed in communications to Creditors: “…we recognize that the Creditors of the Bank are the ultimate stakeholders with the economic interest in the outcome of the Liquidation."
Accordingly, we feel that you must focus your efforts in coordinating the recovery of our stolen assets with the US Receiver, the Department of Justice, the SEC, and the Official Stanford Investors Committee - cooperatively and honestly - in the most economical and efficient manner, without duplicating efforts and without wasting our patrimony. Your decisions and actions must be carried out considering the best interests of all of us, the Stanford’s victims.
Finally, COViSAL demands that you comply with Judge David Godbey’s Court Order, and desist from appealing the Order.
Mr. Wide and Mr. Dickson, don’t let us down.
/s/ Jaime R. Escalona
Jaime R. Escalona
On behalf of COViSAL
Coalición Víctimas de Stanford América Latina (COViSAL)