'A charismatic dictator': friend's verdict on Allen Stanford

 

Allen Stanford ruled as a "charismatic dictator" by using "money, flattery, intimidation and fear" to carry out a $7 billion investment fraud, the businessman's former finance chief told a court in Houston, Texas, yesterday.

Jason Davis, once a college roommate of Stanford, gave evidence against his former boss having pleaded guilty in 2009 to aiding him in the alleged Ponzi scheme.

Facing 30 years in prison for his own part in the crime, Davis said that he had realised as long ago as 1991 that the business he was working for was based on a scam, yet he aided Stanford because he wanted to "please" him. "I was proud, embarrassed. I was a coward," he admitted.

On the most dramatic day of the trial so far, Davis testified that he began discussing the significant gap between what the Stanford International Bank owed its investors and the actual value of its assets one year later.

But his employer reassured him "the bank was going to grow and dwarf this small amount that was so-called missing," he said, claiming Stanford, pictured, believed they would be able to "close that hole".

Having pleaded not guilty, Stanford's defence is that he was merely the gregarious front for the business, and that he was unaware of its illegal and flawed model because Davis, as the man in charge of the accounts, misled him. However, Davis said that Stanford had even joked that he would use this defence if they were ever caught, telling him: "I'll tell them you were on the books and I was out building my companies... I'll just blame it all on you."

Nevertheless, he stayed on as chief financial officer, refusing even to trust his secrets with his wife. "I believed in Mr Stanford – wrongfully so, regrettably so, God forgive me so," he said yesterday. "But I continued to stay there and lie with him."

Davis said that at one point the pair did not speak for three months, but that their relationship could also be the stuff of Hollywood – such as when Stanford took him for a ride in his new Mercedes Benz at 170mph.

Their bank, which collapsed at the cost of investments from thousands of people around the world, had been based in the Caribbean – first in Montserrat and then in Antigua – in order to avoid the oversight of US regulators, Davis told the jury.

He added that Stanford had even agreed to "codify" an agreement which would shield the bank from scrutiny with Antigua's main banking regulator, Leroy King. "Mr Stanford said they actually cut themselves and had a blood oath," said Davis, to the apparent surprise of Stanford in the dock.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence