In a huge step forward for R. Allen Stanford’s cheated investors and creditors, a settlement aims to break the logjam over who is entitled to $300 million worth of frozen assets around the world.
When Stanford’s Ponzi scheme was exposed in 2009 and his business went under, it spawned a global hunt for his many assets to repay his investors and creditors. But those involved in the search—U.S. government agencies, a U.S.-court appointed receiver and the liquidators of Stanford’s Antiguan bank—fought in courts across the world over who controlled the various assets.
The settlement, announced last week and subject to the approval of several courts in the coming weeks, will resolve the years-long battle. It will also speed efforts to return money to those who invested in certificates of deposit issued by Stanford International Bank, a scheme through which Stanford ultimately cheated investors out of $7 billion. Stanford used investors’ cash to further the fraud and fund a lavish lifestyle in which he accumulated real estate, yachts and other assets around the world.
The U.S. receiver warned in court papers that if the settlement isn’t approved, “millions of dollars in assets that could otherwise be distributed to the victims of the Stanford Ponzi scheme will remain tied up in the courts.”
Some of the specific deal terms include handing over $44 million of assets frozen in the U.K. to the Antiguan liquidators, which they’ll distribute to victims in that court proceeding. The liquidators will get another $36 million from the U.K. to fund their continued search for more assets.
More than $132.5 million that was found in Switzerland and $23 million in Canada will be forfeited to the U.S. Department of Justice, which will allow that to be distributed through the U.S. receivership. Antiguan victims will get another $60.5 million from Switzerland.
The settlement doesn’t allow the distribution of any of the $300 million in frozen assets to be paid to two government creditors, the Internal Revenue Service and Antiguan government.
The settlement is subject to the approval of the U.S. District Court in Dallas, the Antiguan court and London’s Central Criminal Court.
Convicted last year of fraud, conspiracy and other criminal charges, Stanford is now serving a 110-year prison sentence. He has insisted he did nothing wrong and has appealed his conviction and sentence.