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Posted by: Matthew Goldstein on April 21
We’re not sure what to make of Allen Stanford’s “I’m not a swindler” road show. Frankly, other than Stanford’s repeated claims of innocence, occasional threats to punch reporters and blaming securities regulators for making a scapegoat out of him, we’re not learning much of anything new.
Sure, Stanford is coming off a bit more polished than his impromptu TV interview with ABC News earlier this month. If you recall, during that interview, a weepy Stanford complained about being denied use of his private jet. But it’s doubtful the interviews with CNBC, Bloomberg, Houston Chronicle, The New York Times and others will have much impact on federal prosecutors, who are said to be steadily building a criminal case against the 59-year-old native Texan.
The timing of the interviews is also curious. Stanford and his hot-shot defense lawyer Dick DeDegurin originally had scheduled the media blitz to take place nearly two weeks ago. But those interviews were mysteriously canceled without explanation. For the record, BW inquired about getting an opportunity to speak to the man charged by regulators with running an $8 billion Ponzi scheme but we were brushed aside.
No matter. We’ll just stick to doing the kind of on-the-ground reporting that helped break open the Stanford story—a week before the SEC sued him on Feb. 17. Still, we’re wondering why our colleagues in the press who did get to meet with Stanford, didn’t press him with some more tough questioning. May be the ground rules for the interview kept some subjects off limits. But since we’re not bound by any constraints, here are just a few questions we would have asked Stanford.
1) Did your offshore bank in Antigua, which is at the heart of the scandal, maintain two sets of books as is alleged by the bank’s court-appointed liquidator? BW first reported on the allegation raised by the liquidator and posted some of the documents unearthed by the liquidator on our website. The documents purport to show, in at least one case, Stanford’s bank provided Antigua regulators with inflated numbers for some of its brokerage portfolios.
2) The bank documents filed with Antigua regulators reveal that some of Stanford International Bank’s assets were held in mysteriously named accounts, such as: LAM, VCH and Medieval. Can you tell us what these accounts are and where the assets that were held in them were invested?
3) Why did you continue to use a small unknown accountant to audit the bank’s books, even as the bank’s assets grew from under a $100 million in 1987 to about $8 billion by last fall?
4) You’ve talked a lot about how securities regulators have ruined your life and the the firm you built into an international institution. But you haven’t expressed a lot of sorrow and sympathy for your investors, many of whom have lost their entire savings. Would you like to say something to your investors?
If we get the chance to speak with Stanford, we promise these will be some of the first questions we ask him.
What would you ask?
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.