Cricket banker charged in ‘global fraud’

Stanford presents a trophy to the winners of his Twenty20 cricket tournament in November 2008.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has charged businessman Robert Allen Stanford with orchestrating an $8 billion fraudulent investment program.

Stanford is the tycoon who bankrolled the Twenty20 Super Series cricket competition in the West Indies last year. The Texan has also contributed millions of dollars to the West Indies Cricket Board in an attempt to boost their flagging fortunes. Rose Romero, Regional Director of the SEC’s Fort Worth Regional Office in Texas, said, “We are alleging a fraud of shocking magnitude that has spread its tentacles throughout the world.” Stanford allegedly fabricated historical return data to prey on investors. The SEC says the investigation is on-going. reports three of Stanford’s companies are involved in the SEC probe including Texas-based Stanford Group Co, Antigua-based Stanford International Bank and investment adviser Stanford Capital Management. The SEC Web site said Stanford International Bank CFO James Davis and Stanford Financial Group chief investment officer Laura Pendergest-Holt also face charges. It added that U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor granted a temporary restraining order freezing the defendants’ assets and appointed a receiver to marshal those assets, as part of a request for emergency relief for the benefit of defrauded investors.