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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Tuesday February 17 2009

Followed a fascinating link at Cricinfo, during the text commentary on the WI v England game, to this, which is about the misdemeanours of a certain Allen Stanford.

In the complaint, the S.E.C. called “improbable, if not impossible” claims by the offshore bank that it paid “significantly” higher returns on its CDs because of the high quality of its investments.

The S.E.C. accused the bank and its affiliates of falsely stating in marketing materials that client funds were placed in liquid financial instruments, when in fact they were invested in private equity funds and real estate. On Nov. 28, Stanford International Bank quoted a rate of 5.375 percent on a $100,000 three-year CD, compared with rates of less than 3.2 percent at American banks. The bank recently has offered rates of more than 10 percent on five-year CDs, the filing stated.

In the complaint, the S.E.C. requested that the defendants’ assets be frozen and that a receiver be appointed to take control of business operations. It also requested that the assets of the bank and other offshore units be repatriated. And the agency asked that Mr. Stanford and the other named executives be required to surrender their passports.

The cricket connection is that Stanford was not so long ago pouring money into cricket, Twenty20 cricket in particular, although this spending was recently scaled back.

Does Cricinfo itself have anything to say?  Indeed:

It has been reported that Allen Stanford has been arrested and charged with fraud by US authorities.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said that they were “alleging a fraud of shocking magnitude”.

In the related punditry that will surely follow, expect much metaphorical play to be made of the way that the recent WI v England test in Antigua had to be moved from its original venue, because the outfield, which included the bowler’s run-ups, turned out to be, literally, built on sand.  I seem to recall that it was Stanford money that built the offending stadium, named after the great but now irate Sir Vivian Richards.  (No.  See comment.  But see also UPDATE below.)

UPDATE, from the Cricinfo text commentary first thing Wednesday morning in Antigua, Wednesday afternoon here:

The stands are sadly empty today as oodles of England fans have had to fly home. Antigua’s citizens, meanwhile, are possibly preoccupied by the Stanford meltdown. Five percent of the working population are employed by him.

The cricket crunch?

The “Stanford has been running a Ponzi scheme” story has been coming out for the last week or so. Tim Worstall has been talking about it, for one.

The Sir Vivian Richards stadium was not built with Stanford’s money. Stanford did build yet another cricket ground in Antigua with “his” money, however. The Richards stadium was built with a grant from the Chinese government. Heaven only knows what deals, skeletons in the closet and strange favours went with that

Posted by Michael Jennings on 17 February 2009

Just heard on the (not very detailed, Radio 1) news that Stanford has “disappeared”.  Very dramatic.

Posted by Rob Fisher on 19 February 2009
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