CaribWorldNews, WASHINGTON, D.C., Weds. Dec. 2, 2009: The Caribbean country of Antigua and Barbuda should be punished until it cooperates with the U.S. and compensates the victims of the alleged Ponzi scheme run by its former famous resident turned citizen, billionaire, R. Allen Stanford.
That`s the word from a group of eight U.S. Senators, including Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, who is a ranking Republican on the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
Shelby along with Senators David Vitter, (R-LA), Kay Bailey Hutchison, (R-TX), Thad Cochran, (R-MS), John Cornyn, (R-TX), Johnny Isakson, (R-GA), Roger Wicker, (R-MS), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), introduced a senate resolution Tuesday urging Secretary of the Treasury, Tim Geithner, to direct the United States Executive Directors to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to use the voice and vote of the U.S. to oppose any loans to the government of Antigua and Barbuda until that government cooperates with the United States and compensates the victims of the Stanford Financial Group fraud.
`It is absurd that the Government of Antigua and Barbuda is standing in the way of helping victims, while also holding out its hand for funding,` Shelby said in a statement Tuesday. `This resolution makes clear that the United States will not accept such behavior.`
The comment comes as the Securities and Exchange Commission`s inspector general said in a recent report that regulators in Antigua obstructed the agency`s probe into Stanford`s activities.
`As long as the Government of Antigua and Barbuda holds assets of Stanford that are not available to the U.S. receiver, it should not receive any funding from the U.S. or the IMF and World Bank,` Isakson said. `The injured American families deserve no less.`
`It`s unbelievable that a government so intertwined in the allegations against Mr. Stanford has the audacity to ask for money from the IMF and World Bank. Not only was one of Antigua`s regulators allegedly a part of Mr. Stanford`s ponzi scheme, but the Antiguan government has taken over more than 250 acres of Stanford`s property and they have refused to work with the US court appointed receiver. Antigua shouldn`t see a dime of money from the US, IMF or World Bank until the victims of this fraud have first been helped,` said Vitter.
Even as Cornyn added: `Allen Stanford`s investment schemes devastated countless Texans. The IMF should not loan money to Antigua unless Antigua agrees to cooperate in reimbursing these innocent investors to the fullest extent possible.`
Stanford is currently in a Texas jail in his home state, awaiting prosecution in a US$8 billion certificates of deposits fraud perpetrated from his Antigua-based Stanford bank.
Antigua, which had knighted Stanford, recently moved to rescind the honor while its governor general last week announced plans to shore up the island’s financial laws and slammed Stanford for embarrassing the country.
The Republican senators` call comes following the U.S. and Antigua battle before the World Trade Organization on its Internet gambling policy. The small island state won the battle but the alleged Ponzi scheme by Stanford has now put the spotlight on the country`s financial laws and gives senators like Shelby the edge they need to now say, `we told you so.`