PracticeAuditSEC draws a blank on Stanford auditor

SEC draws a blank on Stanford auditor

SEC unable to contact UK office of CAS Hewlett as part of investigation into Alan Stanford's bank

The US markets watchdog has unsuccessfully attempted to question the London
auditor of the bank owned by Allen Stanford, the Texan billionaire caught up in
an alleged $8bn (£5.5bn) fraud.

Celia Hewlett, owner of audit firm CAS Hewlett, which has an office in
Antigua and was formerly based in north London, may still come under the
spotlight of the SEC and the SFO in relation to the Stanford International Bank
fraud .

The US markets watchdog refused to elaborate its plans, but refused to rule
out further efforts to speak to Hewlett in relation to its investigation of
Stanford.

On its website, the SEC said: ‘SIB’s accountant, CAS Hewlett & Co, a
small accounting firm in Antigua is responsible for auditing the multi-billion
dollar SIB’s investment portfolio. The commission attempted several times to
contact [CAS] Hewlett by telephone. No one ever answered the phone.’

This week the SEC told Accountancy Age: ‘Absolutely no comment.’

In the UK the Serious Fraud Office said it did not have an investigation into
Hewlett or the audit firm under way, but would be ‘monitoring developments
closely’. A spokesman said: ‘We are touching base with other authorities to see
if there is a possible UK element.’

Last week, The Times quoted Celia Hewlett in Palmers Green, London.
An employee at the Antiguan office told Accountancy Age she had not
been seen for a fortnight.

Hewlett’s father Charlesworth, founder of the firm, was affiliated with the
ACCA, but the institute said she was not a member.

‘Celia Hewlett, is not a member of ACCA. CAS Hewlett & Co has operated
under its licence from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Antigua and
Barbuda throughout.’

Nigel Hamilton-Smith and Peter Wastell, two partners at Vantis Business
Recovery Services, have been appointed by the Financial Services Regulatory
Commission of Antigua and Barbuda as joint receivers of Stanford International
Bank Ltd and Stanford Trust Company Ltd.

Along with a team of recovery specialists, they are currently on site in
Antigua at St John’s working with the FSRC, management and staff.

Hamilton-Smith said: ‘We are now seeking to establish and protect the
position with the investors’ deposits, the companies’ assets and claims from
investors.’

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