Las víctimas olvidadas de Stanford ahora disponible en español

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Allen Stanford’s Amnesia: Haven’t We Seen This Soap Opera Before?

By Shira Ovide

We read with interest our colleague Michael Rothfeld’s story about the amnesia suffered by convicted Ponzi schemer R. Allen Stanford. He now claims he can’t remember anything that happened prior to his 2009 arrest.

It’s been nagging us. We couldn’t quite remember: Where had we seen this before? (Pause for the joke to set in. Theeere you go.)

Yes, the ol’ “I cannot recall, Senator” line has been held out by troubled defendants before, and not just in the plot lines of daytime soap operas.

In 1990, former Guinness chairman and CEO Ernest Saunders was convicted with three others for a scheme to prop up the company’s stock price during a 1986 takeover battle for liquor company Distillers Co. –maker of Tanqueray gins and Johnnie Walker Scotch.

But shortly after his five-year conviction was set, the 55-year-old Saunders said he was in the early stages of dementia. Saunders was freed on parole after serving just 10 months.

After he was released, however, Saunders recovered enough to return to the business world. He said his memory problems and other symptoms were caused by anti-depressants he took in jail.

The British press referred to the Saunders affair as the “alcoholic Dallas.” Given Allen Stanford’s penchant for cricket, maybe we’ll call his sudden memory deficiency the “forgetful wicket.”

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