Ripples From Stanford Ponzi Scheme

     DALLAS (CN) – Trustmark National Bank asked a federal judge to decide to whom it should deliver money from Allen Stanford’s Ponzi scheme: the U.S.-appointed receiver or Antiguan-appointed liquidators.
     Trustmark, based in Jackson, Miss., filed a complaint in interpleader Tuesday against Ralph S. Janvey, the U.S. court-appointed receiver for the Stanford entities, and Marcus Wide and Hugh Dickson, the Antiguan-appointed joint liquidators of Stanford International Bank Ltd.
     Trustmark says its Stanford bank accounts have an aggregate balance of more than $582,000.
     “Competing orders appointing the Receiver and the Antiguan Joint Liquidators raise questions of competing interests to the contractual rights to the deposit accounts,” the complaint states.
     “Because of the adverse claims to the SIBL Accounts, Trustmark has a reasonable fear of multiple liability and remains uncertain as to whether the Receiver or the Antiguan Joint Liquidators have superior title to the SIBL Accounts and the related contract rights.”
     In July, U.S. District Judge David Godbey in Dallas ruled in favor of Janvey over Antiguan-appointed liquidators Nigel Hamilton-Smith and Peter Wastell, in the collection of Stanford assets.
     The duo had filed for recognition in Dallas Federal Court under Chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in 2009 and jockeyed with Janvey over the collection and payment of Ponzi scheme assets for years.
     Godbey only granted the joint liquidators “foreign nonmain” recognition because he concluded the Stanford entities’ “center of main interest” was the United States, not Antigua.
     “Stanford employees managed and directed the [certificate of deposit] enterprise from the United States with no meaningful input from Antigua,” Godbey wrote. “Although SIB, the issuing bank, was chartered and registered in Antigua, Stanford and [James] Davis controlled it – with assistance from [Laura] Pendergest-Holt – from various places within the United States. … Antiguan employees were excluded from decisions regarding SIB’s self-professed primary business: CD-proceed investments.”
     Godbey limited Hamilton-Smith and Wastell to “the examination of witnesses [and] the taking of evidence or the delivery of information concerning [SIB’s] assets, affairs, rights, obligations or liabilities.”
     He was particularly concerned about the duo’s history of interference with Janvey.
     “For example, early on in the action, without notice to the Receiver or the Canadian court, the Former Joint Liquidators entered one of the Stanford Entities in Canada and wiped its computer systems clean of information,” Godbey wrote.
     Godbey said such interference with Janvey has “been the norm” and is “particularly worrying.”
     Trustmark filed a parallel complaint in interpleader Tuesday against Janvey, Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank and Mastercard International, over their competing claims for $403,000 in Stanford funds in two other accounts.
     “On October 15, 2012, the counsel for the Receiver ordered Trustmark to confirm that the contents of the Bank of Antigua Accounts had been transferred to the Receiver and threatened to seek Court intervention should he not receive confirmation of the transfer by the close of business on October 16,” the complaint states.
     Trustmark has more than $9.9 billion in assets and has branches in Texas, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee, according to its website.
     In both complaints, Trustmark seeks an order relieving it from liability associated with the accounts.
     It is represented by Kenneth Johnston with Kane Russell of Dallas.

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