Accounting Firm Wins Request for $20 Million of Frozen Stanford Assets

A United Kingdom judge has granted a request by an accounting firm overseeing the liquidation of Stanford International Bank ("SIB") to use $20 million in previously-frozen assets to fund litigation pursuing the return of assets from individuals associated with the scheme.  Judge Elizabeth Gloster, a judge in the Commercial Court, granted the request of Grant Thorton, the global accounting firm appointed to liquidate Stanford's failed operations in England, ruling that the funds could be used to fund litigation against financial institutions who worked with Stanford and in clawback actions against investors who received profits exceeding their invested principal.  These efforts would center on the Caribbean region, including Antigua, where Stanford International Bank had extensive ties.

Grant Thorton had asked for $20 million, with $5 million to be available immediately, out of an estimated $100 million in SIB's assets currently held in several hedge funds.  The United Kingdom Serious Fraud Office, acting on behalf of the Justice Department, had opposed the request, arguing that the assets should instead be returned to the United States, where court-appointed receiver Ralph Janvey is leading efforts to recover funds for victims of Stanford's fraud.  

Stanford has maintained his innocence, and is currently scheduled to stand trial in January 2012.