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Stanford Indicted On Criminal Charges

TPM Muckraker- By Zachary Roth – June 19, 2009, 1:12PM

The bell has finally tolled for Allen Stanford.

Federal prosecutors today filed a criminal indictment against the billionaire Texan, as well as three other Stanford Financial Group executives and the former head of the Antiguan bank regulatory agency, charging them with helping to orchestrate a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.

The cricket-loving 21st century Gatsby was arrested in Virginia last night, and is scheduled to make an initial appearance today in Richmond, according to a Justice Department press release.

DOJ adds:

According to the indictment, Stanford and his co-defendants engaged in a scheme to defraud investors who purchased approximately $7 billion in certificates of deposit administered by Stanford International Bank Ltd. (SIBL), an offshore bank controlled by Stanford and located on the island of Antigua. Stanford and his co-defendants allegedly misused and misappropriated most of those investor assets, including diverting more than $1.6 billion into undisclosed personal loans to Stanford himself, while misrepresenting to investors SIBL’s financial condition, its investment strategy and the extent of its regulatory oversight by Antiguan authorities.

The SEC had previously filed civil charges against Stanford. Not indicted is SFG number 2 Jim Davis, suggesting that his cooperation with the government, reported previously, was extensive.

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Through Obscure Non-Profit, Stanford Wooed Lawmakers

By now, we’ve all seen those pictures of Allen Stanford hobnobbing with lawmakers in Antigua. But, with the exception of one trip by Sen. John Cornyn, it wasn’t Stanford himself who picked up the tab for these jaunts — it was an obscure outfit called the Inter-American Economic Council.

And taking a closer look at the IAEC, and its ties to Stanford, sheds some light on how the Texas billionaire gained access to all those members of Congress — and what he hoped to gain by doing so.

The IAEC’s website says that the Washington-based group was founded in 1999 and that it aims to “provide senior Government Officials, leading Business Executives, and Academic Professionals the opportunity to engage in a dialogue about current and future economic strategies in the Hemisphere.” And in 2003, the Associated Press reported (via Nexis) that, according to IAEC president Barry Featherman, the organization “relies mostly on contributions from U.S. corporations.”

But the group appears to have remarkably close ties to Stanford himself. In this 2006 report, Bloomberg described Stanford as a “principal backer” of the organization. And Stanford Financial told Bloomberg that it had “donated the use of its aircraft” to the IAEC for one 2006 trip to Jamaica that four Democratic lawmakers went on.

That same year, the IAEC gave Stanford its “Excellence in Leadership” award. A press release put out by the group (since removed from its website) declared that Stanford “has strongly supported the work that the IAEC is doing in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Stanford also appears to have taken advantage of IAEC-funded events by showing up personally to schmooze lawmakers. We already posted these shots of current or former lawmakers including Katherine Harris, Pete Sessions, Tom Feeney, James Clyburn, and John Sweeney chilling with Stanford and Caribbean dignitaries in Antigua in 2005.

But there’s also another set of interesting shots from the previous year, showing Stanford breaking bread with, and addressing, lawmakers — including former GOP congressman Bob Ney (since jailed for taking bribes from Jack Abramoff) — at an IAEC-sponsored event in Washington.

(You can see the slideshow of photographs from that event here.)

What was Stanford talking to lawmakers about? An IAEC press release from (via Nexis) from the event gives a hint. It says that in his speech, Stanford “addressed the need to streamline regulatory regimes that make it difficult for investors to take advantage of all of the opportunities that exist in the region.”

MORE HERE

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Stanford Found In U.S.

Reuters is reporting that Allen Stanford has been found in Virginia and served by the FBI with court papers.

MSNBC just confirmed that report moments ago.

Stanford has been accused by the SEC of orchestrating an $8 billion fraud, but still has not been criminally charged.

Late Update: ABC News has more Stanford details:

– According to one of his lobbyists, Ben Barnes, Stanford has turned in his passport and said he won’t flee. He’s described as “very depressed” and sought to end the manhunt by approaching DOJ officials himself.

– In addition:

In the meantime, the SEC has begun to seize an array of private property owned by Stanford and his firm.Stanford’s fleet of six private jets were recalled to the corporate hangar at Sugarland Airport outside Houston, including the Bombardier 500 luxury jet that was used exclusively by Stanford.

According to flight records, the Stanford jet flew into Washington, D.C. earlier this week and returned to Houston yesterday afternoon. Flight crews said Stanford was not seen on the plane when it unloaded.

– And Stanford has hired top DC criminal defense lawyer Brendan Sullivan, of Williams and Connolly. Sullivan represented Oliver North and Ted Stevens.

Separately, AP adds that Stanford was served with court papers in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

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Lawmakers’ Caribbean Junket With Allen Stanford: The Pictures That Reveal All

We’ve put together a slideshow of that 2005 junket that a group of lawmakers — including Katherine Harris, Tom Feeney, John Sweeney, James Clyburn, and Pete Sessions, went on to Antigua, paid for by an organization with close ties to Stanford.

Our favorite is the one of Harris and Sir Allen gazing into each other’s eyes.

Check it out (PHOTOS)

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Allen Stanford Owes Over $200 Million In Federal Taxes

DANIEL WAGNER | February 18, 2009 07:00 PM EST | AP

WASHINGTON — Public records show disgraced financier R. Allen Stanford owes hundreds of millions of dollars in federal taxes.

The records show four federal tax liens against Stanford totaling more than $212 million. The liens are from 2007 and 2008.

Federal officials charge Stanford with bilking investors out of billions of dollars by claiming unrealistic returns. His bank is closed following a raid Tuesday.

Stanford is known for an extravagant lifestyle, including private jets, friendships with congressmen and big spending on sport sponsorships and charity.

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Is Allen Stanford The 21st Century’s Jay Gatsby?

It looks like Allen Stanford, the billionaire Texan banker whose investment firm is being probed by the Feds, has a positively Gatsbyesque yearning to be accepted into high society.

As we knew, Stanford calls himself “Sir” Allen Stanford, on account of a knighthood he was awarded by the former prime minister of Antigua, where his business is based. But it looks like maybe that wasn’t quite good enough for Stanford, since until recently he was claiming, falsely, that the knighthood was presented by the British Royal family.

Check out this report (via Nexis), from last November in the Mail on Sunday of London:

Texan-born billionaire Sir Allen Stanford’s corporate website claims that, after he became a citizen of the Commonwealth territory of Antigua, it appointed him a ‘Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of the Nation’.’He was presented [with] this honour by His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex,’ states the website.

However, The Mail on Sunday has learned that the Prince had nothing to do with the honour and that it was not approved by the Queen.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said it was a coincidence that the knighthood ceremony, conducted by an Antiguan political appointee, took place during a celebration of the island’s independence, at which Prince Edward was a guest.

‘It is incorrect to say that the Earl of Wessex knighted this person while in Antigua,’ said the spokesman.

Stanford’s personal web site now says only that the Earl of Wessex attended the ceremony at which the “royal knighthood” was bestowed. (Though the “royal” part still seem dubious, since Buckingham Palace has disavowed any role in the proceeding.)

The whole tale is reminiscent of Stanford’s claim to be descended from the founder of Stanford University. The school has denied the link.

MORE HERE

Scenes from the Great Gatsby movie:

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