Las víctimas olvidadas de Stanford ahora disponible en español

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Allen Stanford claims amnesia, and it seems contagious

Source: Loren Steffy

R. Allen Stanford, accused of running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme from offices in Houston and the Caribbean island of Antigua, apparently has a new defense tactic: amnesia.

Stanford has been held without bail since his arrest in 2009. He was later beaten in prison by another inmate, then became addicted to pain killers as part of his recovery. His trial has been delayed while he is weaned off the medication, but it was expected to begin in the spring.

Standford now claims he can’t remember anything prior to his 2009 arrest, according to the Wall Street Journal. It’s an awfully convenient medical condition, but it’s hardly unique in the Stanford case.

The Texas Department of Banking, for example, also seems to have some memory loss. Back in May, I wrote about how state banking regulators, who granted Stanford’s request to establish a trust company here in 2001, had entered into an unusual arrangement with Antiguan authorities that enabled them to review the books of Stanford’s bank in Antigua.

In the more than two years since Stanford’s financial empire collapsed, investigators have complained about a lack of cooperation from Antiguan authorities, especially when it comes to details of Stanford’s bank. It’s not clear, I wrote in May, if Texas authorities ever received or even requested financial information from Stanford’s Antiguan bank.

When I asked a lawyer for the banking commission about it, she confirmed the agreement but said I would need to file an open records request if I wanted to know more. So I did.

Under the state’s open records law, I was supposed to get a response in 10 days. I didn’t, so I sent another message reminding them of the deadline. Still nothing. Finally, late last week, I got an answer — four months after my initial request.

In it, a lawyer for the banking department claims it didn’t receive my request until Sept. 13, but added that “it appears from the date noted on the request that the delivery of the request was delayed.”

The information I got back doesn’t answer the fundamental question of whether the banking department ever acted on its information-sharing agreement, or what information it received. An accompanying attorney general’s opinion found that the financial information would be considered confidential under the information-sharing pact between Texas and Antigua.

Neither the AG’s opinion nor the banking department, though, has answered the more basic question: did they ever invoke the agreement?

The trust agreement was supposed to protect investors, but it appears the state’s banking regulators, after much fanfare in establishing it, never actually used it, or if they did, they missed the warning signs. Then again, maybe delivery of the information was “delayed.”

Here’s the response to my request:

FOI Response

Here’s the documents it generated, most of which discuss the creation of the trust company and the information-sharing pact with Antigua:

Stanford TAB Documents

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