By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
FROM THE BACK ROW, COMMENTARY:
HOUSTON, Texas – If U.S. prosecutors thought former Memphis financial analyst Mark Collinsworth was going to help put defendant R. Allen Stanford in jail, they missed the mark so far today in the trial’s sixth day.
Collinsworth offered what he knew about the financial dealings of Stanford Financial Group and its affiliates this morning, but most of his testimony brought discredit to the government’s key witness, James M. Davis, coming up later this week.
Davis, who once lived west of Baldwyn, was SFG chief financial officer. Also in the conversation was Laura Pendergest-Holt, a Baldwyn native, and company chief investment officer.
Among Collinsworth’s offerings:
• Davis and Holt made some rather inappropriate hires from their positions of authority in the Memphis office. Among them were Davis’ nephew, a former farm hand, his preacher and a woman who spoke Russian – none of them knowing much or anything about investments.
• Holt married her personal trainer, James Holt, who became a hedgefund manager. The couple made money both ways, with Holt getting paid for moving Stanford money to her husband to invest and his making fees when it was invested.
• Davis and Holt allegedly urged Collinsworth to alter his financial opinions about real estate investment potentials so that Stanford could get a more positive view of what they were doing. He said he didn’t do it and “wouldn’t lie to the boss.”
Throughout the morning, Stanford worked closely with his attorney, Ali Fazel, and examined various documents, as well as seeming to offer suggestions during breaks. He did not seem mentally incompetent, as his defense team tried to persuade U.S. District Judge David Hittner last December.
Collinsworth said he became concerned about Stanford investments soon after public revelations about the Bernie Madoff scandal broke in New York City. He said he believed that a sizable amount of Stanford investments flowed to companies that flowed their money into Madoff’s system.
While most private equity investments should be in well known big companies like Facebook or Yahoo, Collinsworth said he didn’t recognize any of the companies in the Stanford Venture Capital portfolio, which Davis asked him to examine for quality.
Collinsworth continues on the stand after a noon break.
Next up is expected to be Althea Crick, an Antiguan bank regulator, who reportedly had some verbal run-ins with Stanford.
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