Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Stanford Given the Finger


Is Robert Allen Stanford the new Bernard Madoff? As the dust settles on the Madoff case and Treasury officials hold him upside-down to make him "disgorge his ill-gotten gains"(as the indictment so picturesquely put it), another scandal is emerging in the allegedly dodgy dealings of Stanford’s various eponymous banks and companies. The press release from the US Securities and Exchange Commission states that he has been charged with orchestrating a fraudulent multi-billion dollar investment scheme.

Stanford is, of course, the gallant gentleman who, in the apparent absence of sufficient chairs, kindly allowed the wives and girlfriends of the English cricket team to sit on his knee. His companies, employing his family and friends in senior positions, solicited investment by offering unfeasibly large interest rates.... hold on, haven’t we heard all this somewhere before?

Yet again, the well heeled and supposedly finance-savvy (remember Nicola Horlick on Madoff?) have succumbed to the blandishments of the jet-set conmen and let greed triumph over common sense. Who in their right mind could believe in consistent double-figure annual returns for over 15 years? Yet SIB allegedly sold $8billion in ‘certificates of deposit’ through a network of financial advisors.

To quote Rose Romero, regional Director of the SEC’s Regional Office, “We are alleging a fraud of shocking magnitude that has spread its tentacles throughout the world."
Sir Allen, it's just not cricket.

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