Receivers take control of St Vincent’s Millennium Bank

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, March 30, 2009 – Regulators in St Vincent and the Grenadines have taken control of a bank that United States officials accused of defrauding clients of US$68 million.

Millennium Bank, which the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week claimed had engaged in a Certificate of Deposit (CD) fraud, similar to what Sir Allen Stanford is accused of committing in Antigua, has been placed in the hands of receivers.

The island’s International Financial Service Authority announced that it had appointed KPMG to assume control over the bank’s affairs “to preserve records and assets”.

The SEC filed claims alleging that through Millennium Bank and its parent company, United Trust of Switzerland, more than 375 investors were duped into buying the “bogus high-yield” CDs since July 2004. The assets of two American business persons who allegedly led the scam, William Wise and Kristi Hoegel, have been frozen and a receiver appointed to take control of the property.

The case is unfolding very much like the Stanford matter. Sir Allen’s assets and those of two senior executives have been seized and receivers appointed to companies named in the civil lawsuit.