Stanford mission is no Antigua holiday

For most people, a posting to Antigua would be a dream job ­ but for Nigel
Hamilton-Smith and Peter Wastell, the Vantis receivers tasked with recovering
Stanford client assets, it will be far from a holiday in the sun.

The job hinges on dredging up information on the value of assets held by
Stanford International Bank and Stanford Trust Company, the two companies at the
centre of the SEC’s probe. They then have to hold on to those assets.

In the wake of an SEC probe into the bank, owned by the flamboyant
cricket-loving billionaire, Hamilton-Smith and Wastell were appointed as joint
receivers of SIB and STC.

They have a team sifting through the accounts of Standford, and will have to
liaise with clients, banks, the Financial Services Regulatory Commission of
Antigua and Barbuda and the US Receiver in order to achieve their goal.

The Vantis team are in the dark as to the actual amount held by the
institutions, so they have also called on the US receiver for help in
identifying and ring-fencing the assets.

‘At this time we are unable to ascertain the total value of assets held or
report on the timescale for the return of monies to investors,’ the receivers
said in a statement.

‘Our priority is to safeguard the interests of investors, identify and
preserve assets and together with the international regulators and authorities
and the US Receiver; we are working to complete these investigations as quickly
as possible to avoid further inconvenience to SIB and STC’s customers.’

But the pair have made some headway, by putting an undisclosed figure on the
amount of cash the clients had actually sunk in to the investment vehicles.

Lines of communication have also been opened with the financial institutions
they have pinpointed as holding those assets on behalf of SIB and STC.

The Receiver-Manager’s team and staff at SIB and STC have now begun fielding
the questions of 28,000 client enquiries and are aiming to send statements to
all of them by the end of the February.

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