Antigua prepares to fight Stanford investors

ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Monday October 18, 2010 – The Antigua and Barbuda government says it’s building a defence against a lawsuit brought by the Stanford Victims Coalition (SVC) which is seeking to recover financial losses as a result of the fall of Allen Stanford’s empire.

Attorney General Justin Simon says the administration has instructed its lawyers from Texas who recently visited the island.

The SVC alleges that government has benefited from Stanford’s investments and, on that basis, should compensate the members for their losses.

“Government is looking at whether that action is sustainable against a sovereign state and the whole issue as to whether or not there was a commercial enterprise in which the government participated with Stanford would first of all have to be established,” a statement from the government said.

The Attorney General noted, though, that there were very few actual engagements between Stanford and the United Progressive Party (UPP) administration and it is hoped that, with the information given to the lawyers, the lawsuit would be dismissed.

The Stanford investors want US$24 billion in compensation – three times the amount the businessman is alleged to have defrauded customers out of.

They have also filed another lawsuit, in which the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is also named, accusing the regional institution of unlawfully seizing Stanford’s Bank of Antigua (BOA) after news of his charges caused a run on the bank and threatened its stability.

The Attorney General says no papers have been served in relation to that matter.

BOA officially becomes the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank (ECAB) from today, owned by the government of Antigua and Barbuda and five of the largest Eastern Caribbean banks – Antigua Commercial Bank (ACB), St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank Ltd, Eastern Caribbean Financial Holdings Company Ltd, National Commercial Bank (SVG) Ltd and National Bank of Dominica Ltd.

Antigua and Barbuda has 40 percent interest in ECAB – 25 per cent belonging to government and the remaining 15 percent allocated to ACB; while each of the other four banks have 15 percent share.

Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)