US Senate targets Antigua for its handling of US investor scandals
ST JOHN’S, Antigua & Barbuda, Thursday December 15, 2011 – All direct and indirect aid to Antigua and Barbuda from the United States could be suspended if a band of US Senators get their way.
The proposed sanctions are outlined in Senate Resolution No 346, placed before the United States Senate on December 8, prompted by the Antigua and Barbuda government’s handling of the assets of Allen Stanford and Half Moon Bay.
The Resolution accuses the Caribbean government of perpetrating ““numerous acts against the interest of US citizens,” violating “the order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas,” and challenging “the authority of the (said) Court” as well as “the authority of the United States Department of Justice”.
It calls for “provision of all further direct or indirect aid or assistance, including assistance derived from Federal funds, by the United States Government to the Government of Antigua & Barbuda should be suspended until the Government of Antigua & Barbuda provides complete redress of the issues …”
Stanford, who is from Texas, is in a US jail awaiting trial for allegedly defrauding thousands of investors worldwide, of more than US $7 billion.
The Senate resolution accused the government of Antigua benefitting from Stanford International Bank (SIB) certificates of deposit to the tune of US$85 million, and demands the return of the money. It also points to a March 2010 statement by the government, which it argues shows that Antigua & Barbuda knew – or ought to have known – that Stanford Investment Bank was operating outside accepted banking international standards.
As his operations base was in Antigua & Barbuda, the government took control of land owned by the investor saying it wants a say in how that property is eventually disposed and a court-appointed receiver has been fighting US receivers for control of assets outside of Antigua & Barbuda.
The resolution calls for the government here to relinquish all control over properties previously owned by Stanford to US appointed court receivers.
It also wants the government to pay a contribution to the US receivership estate “for the benefit of the victims of the Stanford Financial Group fraud, in an amount equal to the amount of any funds that Allen Stanford or any Stanford-affiliated entity provided to the government or government officials of Antigua & Barbuda.”
Also at issue was the process that the Lester Bird administration started, and the Baldwin Spencer administration continued after coming to power, of forcibly acquiring the Half Moon Bay resort, the owners of which are American.
A more than a decade-long legal battle was recently won in the Caribbean court by Half Moon Bay’s original owners, compelling the Antigua government to effect restitution. However, due to the nature of its fiscal indebtedness, the Antiguan government has yet to confirm a payment schedule for the US investors.
This has not gone down well with the US Senators, who are demanding that the Antigua government fulfil its obligations.
The resolution concluded: “The Secretary of the Treasury should direct the United States Executive Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association (commonly known as the “World Bank'') and the International Monetary Fund to use the voice and vote of the United States to ensure that any future loan made by the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund to the Government of Antigua and Barbuda is conditioned on providing complete redress of the matters, and satisfaction of the requirements, described under paragraph (1).”