Antigua Says Stanford Victims Coalition Claims `Unfounded`

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CaribWorldNews, ST. JOHN`S, Antigua, Tues. Mar. 23, 2010: The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has slammed as `unfounded,` claims that the Stanford Victims Coalition that the country was a partner in and beneficiary of the alleged criminal behavior of former one time resident and knight, R. Allen Stanford.

In a recent statement, the government denied that the Baldwin Spencer Administration sold any Crown lands to Stanford since taking office in 2004. And it added that they received no loans from Stanford and was not a beneficiary of any largesse of Stanford.

`In fact, R. Allen Stanford considered this administration an obstacle to his ambitions,` said the statement.

The Spencer administration also  insisted that while it understands the frustration and disappointment being experienced by the Stanford International Bank Ltd. depositors, `we cannot countenance the attack these persons have begun to wage on our country without first looking at other entities and organizations – including the United States` regulatory authorities.`

And it stated that it will continue `to take every practical and legal measure to position ourselves to win this battle.`

`We do not take lightly the threats of the self styled Stanford Victims Coalition,` said the government. `Our overseas missions and consulates are playing and will continue to play a critical role in the government`s actions, as will our Tourism offices. We are in discussions with overseas counsel and intend to defend our country, our Treasury, our citizens` welfare and our patrimony.`

Stanford, the government pointed out, was the sole owner of two banks in Antigua & Barbuda: the Stanford International Bank Ltd., an off-shore financial entity registered under the International Business Corporations Act and regulated by the Financial Services Regulatory Commission, and the Bank of Antigua, registered under the Companies Act and licensed to operate ordinary banking business under the Banking Act, but regulated by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.

`The business of Stanford International Bank Ltd. was run from Houston, Texas, and its books maintained in Memphis, Tennessee. The bank was operating in Antigua as a transit point and for purposes of registration and regulation,` said the statement.

The Antigua government explained that since the Tuesday February 16, 2009 Court Order was made by a judge in the Northern District of Texas appointing a Receiver over all of Stanford`s assets wherever located, there began literally a run on the Bank of Antigua, with customers withdrawing millions from the bank.

By February 18, 2009 the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank had to extend credit to the bank in the sum of EC$19M; by February 24, the amount was EC$79M, and the final figure stood at EC$89M when normalcy was restored, the statement said.

`The amount represents a debt for which Antigua & Barbuda is currently responsible,` the Spencer government said.

The government added that prompt intervention by the ECCB was necessary in order to maintain the stability of the OECS Monetary Union as well as, the stability of the common currency shared by 8 OECS countries.

On February 23, 2009 the ECCB assumed control and management of the Bank under its emergency powers given by the law which created it.

A new corporate entity, the Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Financial Company Ltd., comprising representatives of the indigenous banks in the OECS, was incorporated as an agent of the ECCB to run the day-to-day affairs of the Bank of Antigua.

`That was necessary,` said the government statement, `to prevent a financial meltdown within the OECS grouping, given our common currency, which is tied to the US$ and has remained constant and stable since its pegging in 1971.`

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