What other news reports say about Day 2 of the Allen Stanford fraud trial in Houston, Texas:
• The BBC …
Allen Stanford is accused of defrauding investors of $7bn (£4.5bn) through a Ponzi scheme out of his bank in the Caribbean island of Antigua.
But his defence team says that the 61-year-old never intended to defraud anyone.
Prosecutors also say that Mr Stanford, as well as three of his former executives, fabricated company documents and bribed officials in Antigua to cover up their illegal activities.
But Mr Stanford, who once had an estimated net worth of more than $2bn, argues that his businesses were legal.
Mr Stanford once landed in a helicopter at Lord’s cricket ground in London and secured a lucrative series of matches between the England team and his Stanford superstars.
• ABA JOURNAL …
Federal prosecutors say onetime Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford made false representations to investors to persuade them to purchase so-called certificates of deposit at an offshore bank he controlled.
However, his defense team is expected to point the finger at the feds and the global economic downturn at the federal fraud trial in Houston and contend that heavy-handed government intervention destroyed the value of the ventures into which Stanford put some $7 billion in investor funds, Bloomberg reports.
Rather than misappropriating money, as prosecutors claim, Stanford funded startup companies and real-estate ventures, among other ventures, in order to provide high returns to investors in the Antiguan bank CDs, his lawyers insist. But for the interference of federal regulators, who stepped in as Stanford’s accountants were recording these assets on company books, destroying their value with a much-publicized investigation, investors’ money wouldn’t have been lost, the defense contends.
“There was a consolidation project under way, not just something they were talking about, but that they were doing,” defense attorney Ali Fazel said at a hearing last week. “The government’s contention that this is fraud is just wrong.”
Texas financier Allen Stanford used lies and bribes to steal the hard-earned savings of his customers, prosecutors said on Tuesday.
“He told them lie, after lie, after lie,” prosecutor Gregg Costa told the jury at the start of Stanford’s trial on criminal fraud charges in federal court in Houston.
Stanford, 61, dressed in a grey suit and white shirt, pleaded not guilty to a 14-count indictment. “I plead not guilty to every count,” the former billionaire said in an emphatic voice.
He rocked in his chair, listening intently as Costa laid out the government’s case of a sprawling $7 billion Ponzi scheme originating with Stanford International Bank in Antigua. Stanford used it as “his own private piggy bank,” Costa said.
“Really, that is the perfect name for the bank, because the bank was there to enrich Mr. Stanford.”
Robert Scardino, one of Stanford’s lawyers, told the jury that the Texas native was an astute businessman whose business was ruined when the government seized it in 2009.
“Stanford was kind of an absentee CEO, a visionary,” Scardino told jurors.
He argued that every dime investors put into CDs issued from the Antigua bank was repaid over the course of 22 years.
“He paid every penny that was promised,” Scardino said. “Never once failed, no evidence of a fraud.”
• WALL STREET JOURNAL
R. Allen Stanford founded a legitimate business that was brought low by wrongheaded regulators, his lawyers told a jury as his long-delayed criminal trial opened in federal court here on Tuesday.
Mr. Stanford is accused by prosecutors of running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.
In part because of a gag order imposed by U.S. District Court Judge David Hittner, and in part because of injuries Mr. Stanford suffered in jail that he claims left him with memory loss, his defense strategy hasn’t previously been clear.