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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vijay Singh's Management Firm Sued by Stanford Receiver Over Sponsor Fees

IMG Worldwide Inc., the management company for pro golfer Vijay Singh, was sued for $10.5 million by alleged swindler R. Allen Stanford’s court-appointed receiver, who seeks to recoup sponsorship fees and expenses.

Receiver Ralph Janvey sued the firm yesterday in federal court in Dallas, claiming IMG shouldn’t be allowed to keep the money paid to promote the Houston-based Stanford Financial Group of companies. Singh isn’t named as a defendant.

The financier is alleged to have led a $7 billion fraud scheme centered on the sale of certificates of deposit by his Antigua-based Stanford International Bank Ltd. He has denied the civil and criminal allegations.

“The Stanford parties were running a Ponzi scheme and paid IMG with funds taken from unwitting SIB CD investors,” attorneys for Janvey and a committee representing investors’ interests said in the complaint.

Jim Gallagher, an IMG Worldwide’s spokesman, said the company has no comment until it has had a chance to review the lawsuit.

Singh, who often played in attire emblazoned with Stanford business logos, offered to pay half of Stanford’s $100,000 bail after the financier was arrested in June 2009, according to court records. The offer was declined after Stanford was deemed a flight risk and ordered jailed until he can be tried.

The sponsorship fees and funds sought in the lawsuit were used to promote the Stanford International Pro-Am tournament and Singh, according to the complaint.

Payment Dates

Janvey claims IMG’s payments, which began in 2006, included $7.3 million in 2008 and $113,929 in the six weeks before the seizure of Stanford’s companies by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in February 2009.

“IMG did not provide reasonably equivalent value for the transfers of CD proceeds to it and cannot establish that it is a good-faith transferee,” the receiver and investors alleged.

Singh, 47, has the second-highest career earnings on the PGA Tour, with $63 million, according to the tour’s website. He is ranked 73rd on the tour, down from his No. 7 PGA Tour ranking in 2008 and No. 2 ranking in 2007, according to the tour’s site.

PGA Tour golfer David Toms was also sued earlier this month by Janvey, for $905,087 in sponsorship fees he received from Stanford’s companies in 2007 and 2008.

Adam Young, Toms’s manager, said Stanford sponsored “a half-dozen other players” on the pro circuit in the two years before the SEC’s seizure of the Stanford businesses.

No Antiguan CDs

Young said Toms’s sponsorship fees were placed by the company in a Stanford Group Co. brokerage account, where they were invested in regularly traded securities. The golfer never owned any of Stanford’s Antiguan CDs, his manager said.

The case is Janvey v. IMG Worldwide Inc., 11-cv-117, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).

The criminal case is U.S. v. Stanford, 09-cr-342, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston). The SEC case is Securities and Exchange Commission v. Stanford International Bank Ltd., 09-cv-298, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).

-- With assistance from Tom Korosec in Dallas. Editors: Charles Carter, Peter Blumberg

To contact the reporters on this story: Laurel Brubaker Calkins in Houston at; Andrew M. Harris in Chicago at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David E. Rovella at

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