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Posted by: Matthew Goldstein on February 20
We’re starting to get a better picture of the many riches R. Allen Stanford has amassed over the years. And that’s important because some of those assets may be used to compensate aggrieved investors down the road, if the Securities and Exchange Commission prevails in its civil fraud case.
Thanks to court filings in a pending divorce proceeding between Stanford and his wife of 34-years, Susan, we’re learning about some of the luxury cars, private jets, homes and other pricey things the couple owns.
The Stanfords have a home in Houston and estates in Coral Gables, Fla., St. Croix in the Virgin Islands and of course one in Antigua. They maintained a fleet of private jets and helicopters and a yacht. In the divorce proceeding Susan secured exclusive use to three of the couples’ cars.
They also own a condo in Houston that their adult daughter lives in.
Stanford was ordered to pay temporary spousal support to his wife of $100,000 a month. The court also gave her the right to use any of the corporate jets and the yacht, as long as she gives her husband seven days notice. He was ordered to buy her three new automobiles. She also got rights to use the company’s corporate suite at the Toyota Center, the home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets.
The order was signed by a Texas state judge on May 30. The wife’s lawyer did not return a phone call. When FBI agents served Stanford with the SEC complaint on Feb. 19, the found him at the Fredericksburg, Va. home of his girlfriend. Stanford has said he has six children, but he and his wife only had one—his adult daughter.
The Stanfords also remain embroiled in a long-running tax dispute with the Internal Revenue Service. The dispute stems from alleged failure to pay taxes on capital gains from the controversial offshore bank in Antigua, Stanford International Bank, at the heart of the SEC fraud charges. Public records reveal the IRS claims the couple owes about $200 million in back taxes.
Meanwhile, Antiguan authorities moved Friday to take control of Stanford’s offshore bank, an action that could put the Caribbean island government at odds with the SEC. Antiguan regulators named British-based Vantis Business Recovery Service as a receiver for the bank that purported to have $8.5 billion in assets in December.
The SEC, which has installed its own receiver over Stanford Financial’s US operations, says it can’t account for the money in the bank. The SEC and Antiguan officials could not be reached for comment. Vantis declined to comment. The little-known London-based firm is said to have beat out some better-known corporate clean-up firms for the job, such as Kroll.
It’s not clear if Antiguan authorities consulted with the SEC before making the pick. A person familiar with the Stanford investigation says for months Antiguan authorities were thumbing their noses at the SEC and rebuffing attempts by US regulators to get information on Stanford’s offshore operation.
Not only is the Stanford investigation still unfolding. Now it seems it may get ugly too.
BusinessWeek's Adrienne Carter, Jessica Silver-Greenberg, and David Henry deconstruct the mysteries of high finance, Wall Street, and hedge funds for pros and ordinary investors. E-mail them directly if you've got tips about big deals, a hedge fund, or even securities industry gossip.