Wicker and Cochran: IMF Should Not Approve Loan for Antigua Unless Ponzi Victims’ Property is Released


“Thousands of U.S. victims of the Stanford fraud have been financially devastated”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 6, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — As the International Monetary Fund (IMF) moves closer to approving a substantial loan to the Commonwealth of Antigua and Barbuda, U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today called on the government of Antigua to release several hundred million dollars that it seized from fraudulent financier Allen Stanford.

Stanford is known to have had close ties with the government of Antigua and Barbuda, and is alleged, among other things, to have loaned that government tens of millions of dollars which presumably came from Stanford investor funds. U.S. authorities have taken issue with lack of cooperation by the government of Antigua and Barbuda on a number of Stanford-related issues, including its expropriation of Stanford property and its refusal to cooperate with the U.S. receiver in charge of gathering the assets of the Stanford Financial Group to distribute among the victims of the fraud.

The lawmakers sent a letter to the President, calling on him to urge U.S. representatives at the IMF to vote against the loan to Antigua and Barbuda.

Excerpts from the letter:

“In light of Antigua’s failure to assist and cooperate in the ongoing investigation of Stanford Financial or to assist defrauded investors in their efforts to recover their losses, we ask that you urge the U.S. representatives to the IMF to vote against this loan.

“Following the collapse of the Stanford Financial scheme, the Antigua government seized Stanford-owned property estimated to be worth several hundred million dollars. In addition, Antigua acknowledges that it is indebted to the Stanford entities (and in effect to its victims) for unpaid loans totaling several hundred million dollars. The government of Antigua should pay fair-market value or release the seized properties to the court-appointed receiver in the United States so the victims of the fraud may be compensated.

“The thousands of U.S. victims of the Stanford fraud are primarily retirement-age, middle-class Americans who have been financially devastated by this crime. We hope you agree that it would be entirely inappropriate for the U.S. to assist a country that has committed a crime against our own citizens. We urge you to take swift action to prevent the pending IMF loan from moving forward.”

The full text of the letter is attached, and it was signed by Sens. Wicker, Cochran, Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), David Vitter (R-La.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), and George LeMieux (R-Fla.).

Last year, Cochran and Wicker introduced a Senate resolution aimed at preventing the government of Antigua and Barbuda from receiving financial aid if it continues to hinder efforts to recover billions lost in the Stanford Financial Group fraud scandal.

In March, the lawmakers also cosponsored bipartisan legislation that would provide tax relief to victims of ponzi schemes, allowing small investors to recoup some of their losses from financial scams.


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