Legal endgame looms over remains of Stanford empire

A monumental legal battle over the liquidation of the business empire of alleged fraudster Sir Allen Stanford will come to a head in the Caribbean courts this month.

Liquidators at Grant Thornton, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Zolfo Cooper have been lined up to replace UK-based insolvency firm FRP Advisory to unravel the remaining assets of Stanford International Bank. This was the Antigua-based bank that is at the centre of an alleged Ponzi-style fraud scheme that could have lost investors up to $7bn.

This also earned Sir Allen, who was best known in the UK for his outlandish $20m winner-takes-all cricket tournament, a criminal trial in the US. However, this has been delayed due to the Texan's medical condition.

Nigel Hamilton-Smith and Peter Wastell of Vantis were appointed joint liquidators by the Antiguan courts, but were stripped of the role last June. Alexander Fundora, a Stanford investor – and alleged victim who lost $2.7m – challenged the appointments. His team successfully argued that the liquidators' destruction of valuable computer data in Canada warranted their removal, although most creditors continued to support the appointments.

Later that month, Vantis went into administration and the business recovery unit was bought out by management. Mr Wastell and Mr Hamilton-Smith transferred to the renamed FRP. Since then, FRP has tried to get permission to appeal, with the case moving back-and-forth between the Antigua High Court and the more senior East Caribbean Court of Appeal.

Last month, FRP was granted that right of appeal, but Mr Fundora's legal counsel are counter-challenging that ruling later this month. If FRP loses, Mr Fundora's team has lined up Marcus Wide of PwC in Canada, Hugh Dixon of Grant Thornton in the Cayman Islands and William Tacon of Zolfo Cooper in the British Virgin Islands as potential replacements. Mr Fundora, based in Miami, has previously endorsed Mr Wide's appointment, but was told by the courts that three options would need to be submitted so a fair choice could be made.

Further complicating matters is a jurisdictional battle over the unwinding of assets with the receiver in the US, Ralph Janvey. FRP has come to an agreement over who can recover what from which territory, but the other three parties seem likely to want to retain seniority over creditor claims.

Despite the legal machinations, FRP has continued to try to rescue the remaining assets. Mr Hamilton-Smith said: "Regrettably, given the worldwide nature of SIB and Allen Stanford's personal affairs, the liquidation was always going to be a complex and time consuming affair."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Foreign Exchange Dealer - OTE £40,000+

£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea