HOUSTON (CN) – The Commonwealth of Antigua and Barbuda aided and abetted Robert Allen Stanford’s $8 billion Ponzi scheme by providing his Stanford International Bank a safe haven in exchange for kickbacks, investors claim in a multibillion-dollar federal RICO class action.
The class includes people who invested money in Certificates of Deposit issued by the Stanford International Bank in Antigua, also known as Antigua and Barbuda.
“Antigua is a sovereign but not above the law,” according to the 74-page complaint. “It became a full partner in Stanford’s fraud, and reaped enormous financial benefits from the scheme. Stanford stuffed Antigua’s coffers – and its officials’ pockets – with money stolen from customers.”
A member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, Antigua helped Stanford’s bank portray itself as a legitimate provider of financial services, according to the complaint. This provided a pretext for the transfer of criminal proceeds from Stanford to Antigua, the class claims.
Antigua and Stanford developed an airport on the island, a medical center, a cricket stadium and restaurants with the unlawfully derived money, the victims say. Stanford was knighted by the former British colony in 2006, and ever since he has gone by the title of “Sir Allen.”
Antigua also provided false information to the US Securities and Exchange Commission to impede their investigation of Stanford’s scheme, the class says.
The class says it expects to recover only a fraction of what Stanford and his bank owe them.
“The victims’ losses are staggering, and the plaintiffs and other members of the class have a right to recoup their losses from Antigua, which was Stanford’s full partner in crime,” the complaint states.
The class seeks at least $8 billion in damages. It is represented by Paul Lackey of Dallas.