Nigel Hamilton-Smith has won the first round in a battle to retain control of
UK assets worth $100m (£61m) owned by Stanford International Bank. It’s a key
victory in the battle to return money to creditors after the collapse of Allen
Stanford’s business empire. But he’s not in the clear.
It’s ancient history now that Stanford’s business went bust but the work to
recover assets for creditors has continued with Hamilton-Smith, head of business
recovery at Vantis, leading the charge to recover assets for those who lost out
when Stanford International Bank went bust in Antigua.
But the process has seen the liquidator become locked in a legal tussle with
the court appointed liquidator of Stanford’s US assets, Ralph Janvey.
Janvey wanted control of SIB’s assets in the UK. Hamilton-Smith is determined
that he shouldn’t get it and that the assets go only to the creditors of the
Last week he told Accountancy Age that it was important that the
assets were not ‘lost in the Stanford business empire’.
The High Court in the UK has given one ruling in his favour, but that’s not
the end of the story. Janvey is expected to come back at Hamilton-Smith with an
appeal in the autumn. Already the scene is set for another courtroom show down
in which Hamilton-Smith will battle to keep Janvey from repatriating proceeds
from the assets to the US.
What happens next?
Hamilton-Smith has a long history in business recovery and, according to his
biography at the Vantis website, has worked for clearing banks and asset-based
lenders among others.
He is therefore well versed in complex financial arrangements and the
legalities that revolve around them. Among the liquidations he has handled in
the past is that of Betonsports, also based in Antigua.
He is on record saying it would take months to resolved issues for the 28,000
creditors of SIB and it looks as if most of that time will be taken up pursuing
cases through the courts overseas as he seeks to gain control of the assets.
Claims in Switzerland and Canada are yet to be heard. It’s clear he’s up for a
fight and will not back down in the face of increasingly tense court-room
Of course, the search for assets and their ownership will become increasingly
That becomes sapping after a while and, of course, racks up the fees for the
But Hamilton-Smith hopes to realise somewhere between $500m and $1bn. The
creditors will measures his success by his results and the world’s press will be
watching to see just how well he does.
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