Las víctimas olvidadas de Stanford ahora disponible en español

Las víctimas olvidadas de Stanford, ahora disponible en español en:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Victims target Stanford base

Some Latin American citizens say they plan to punish cruise lines for financial losses allegedly suffered at the hands of jailed Texas promoter Robert Allen Stanford.

Stanford, 60, is in a Houston detention center. He has been in custody since June, when a federal grand jury indicted him and several associates for allegedly defrauding thousands of investors of more than $7 billion. His trial is scheduled for January.

Approximately $1 billion of the Stanford losses occurred in the Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Covington areas, according to estimates by state Rep. Bodi White, R-Central, and Baton Rouge lawyer Phillip W. Preis.

But the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has alleged in court filings in Dallas that significant losses also occurred in more than 100 other countries.

Most losses resulted from the purchase of worthless certificates of deposit from Stanford International Bank, based in the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean Sea, SEC officials allege in their court filings.

And the Stanford Victims Coalition of Latin America now plans to punish cruise lines that bring tourists to that island nation.

Jaime Rodriguez Escalona, of Caracas, Venezuela, was announced as one of two leaders of that group when it was formed in May.

Escalona said last week that damaging Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism business is the only leverage Latin American investors have over that country.

He said the governments of Latin American countries do not appear interested in pursuing any legal action on Stanford victims’ behalf.

“The Venezuelans … are in the worst situation because they live under a non-democratic government that criminally persecutes those people that have savings overseas,” Escalona said.

He added that a former Venezuelan finance minister said in a television interview “that the government would do nothing to help the victims.”

Under Escalona’s name, the coalition’s blog has referred to Antigua as “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

One of Antigua’s former top bank regulators is under indictment in the U.S. for allegedly accepting bribes from Stanford as payment for blocking investigations into the Texan’s island operations.
Escalona conceded that cruise lines had nothing to do with Stanford’s alleged crimes. But he said his group will work to enforce a boycott of those companies if they do not cease service to Antigua and Barbuda.

Escalona said the government of Antigua and Barbuda seized more than $200 million of Stanford’s property after his arrest. He said his coalition wants to pressure the island nation to return that money to Latin American people who lost their retirement savings to Stanford.

Four cruise lines that currently stop at Antigua — Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, and Norwegian Cruise Line — did not respond Friday to requests for comment on the threatened boycott.

Escalona said his group is relatively small, consisting of fewer than 500 of the more than 10,000 Latin Americans who lost money when the SEC shut down Stanford’s operations 13 months ago.

He said members of the coalition reside in Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Peru, Puerto Rico (a U.S. territory) and Venezuela.

Some investors in Spain and Portugal also have joined the coalition, Escalona said.

Escalona described himself as a consultant in both real estate and wind turbine technology. He said he divides his time between Venezuela and Austin, Texas.

1 comment:

  1. I notice that U.S. Victims were not mentioned. I am all for the Latin American Victims--I hope the feeling is mutual. All for one--one for all and we will win!