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Stanford’s Receivership and Liquidation Processes… Hope, Punishment or What?


December 11, 2012

An Open Letter from COViSAL in response to the Joint Statement of the U.S. Receiver (Ralph Janvey), the Joint Liquidators (Marcus Wide & Hugh Dickson), and the U.S. Examiner (John Little) on December 6, 2012.

Dear Sirs,

We, respectfully write to you in order to express our outrage over the undue delay in reaching a final agreement. Your inactions show and absolute disregard for the suffering of innocent victims who have lost their life-savings and have been waiting four years for any distribution that could alleviate their immediate needs –many have died as a consequence. We only see the prolonging of the proceedings, which simply benefits the attorneys managing the receivership and the liquidation.

Three months have passed since the Summit in Washington, D.C., took place. Numerous other meetings were also held at different dates; and yet the responsible parties have not finished agreeing. We do not know what to think of your recent joint statement announcing an agreement reached, in principle. Is this considered an accomplishment? Or is it a legal obligation that should have been fulfilled long time ago? The press release is a petty Christmas token; and an insult to the victims. There is no agreement at hand; just the continuation of discussions and negotiations for the control of our assets to pay professional fees and expenses.

We ask: What interests are driving the negotiations? Why do you affirm with cynicism that an agreement might not be reached? Why is it so difficult to come up with a definite action plan and a resolution? We demand immediate and concrete actions for a true recovery and distribution of our patrimony, which was vilely stolen under the watchful eye of the U.S. Regulatory Agencies.

The four-year anniversary of the Stanford’s debacle, that destroyed the lives of thousands of innocent families around the world, is in two months. So far, professionals managing the receivership and the liquidation are benefitting and receiving more than $150 million in fees and expenses – while the victims have received zero economic relief. The saga drags on for the victims as delays to reach an agreement and litigation continue to generate fees for you, your attorneys, and your professionals; depleting the remnants of our patrimony. It is obvious that there is not a sense of urgency to reach a prompt resolution. Why is that? Is it the easy money at hand? Is this an ethical outcome?  Why do victims have to bear with all the risk?

Latin American victims are the largest defrauded group; 15,270 families representing 70% of the total depositors in the Stanford International Bank, Ltd. (“SIBL”) with more than $4 billion in losses, who entrusted their savings to a company belonging to an American conglomerate regulated and supervised by the U.S. Government. The majority of Stanford’s victims are modest people; families with children with special needs. Many victims are elderly, ill or close to retirement; all unable to pay for their critical medical treatments and living expenses. Many continue to die while waiting in vain for even a small portion of their savings to be returned in time for life-saving operations, or treatment of cancer, and other life-threatening diseases. Latin American victims feel ignored and discriminated against.

We appreciate the interest and commitment of the U.S. Department of Justice in participating in the negotiations, assisting the Stanford’s victims, and ensuring justice to all the families devastated by this horrendous crime. We ask you to take action and help us stop this nonsense that continues to harm us. You must supervise the distribution of the money confiscated in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Canada and the claims’ process, and to have a voice in the determination of the reasonableness of total asset recovery charges. The $330 million of our savings confiscated in Europe and Canada must now be distributed to the victims, holders of CDs from SIBL, regardless of nationality or location, in a direct, efficient and economical way with minimal deductions for costs, if any, without appeals, without retention of money for uncertain real estate developments in Antigua, without further litigation, without more legal fees and expenses, and without payments to intermediaries - including the IRS from the United States. This process must be transparent, equitable, fair, cost-effective, and focused in preserving the greatest amount of assets for the victims. There must be accountability for the money spent in pointless litigation and unnecessary expenditures. These funds are all that remains of our stolen savings and must now be returned to the rightful owners who need them desperately.

The U.S. Receiver, Ralph Janvey, and the Joint Liquidators, Marcus Wide and Hugh Dickson, must sign a Cooperation Protocol that includes, among other things, the five points mentioned in the press release: (a) coordination between the U.S. Receiver and the Joint Liquidators concerning their respective claim processes, (b) increased sharing of information, (c) cooperation with respect to the asset recovery and some of the other litigation efforts, (d) a resolution of pending disputes concerning funds now frozen in the United Kingdom, Canada and Switzerland, and (e) a release of funds for distribution to Stanford’s investor-victims.

COViSAL requests that the following two points also be considered: (f) preparation of formal joint reports to give the judicial process the transparency it lacks, and (g) oversight of the U.S. Receiver’s and Joint Liquidators' affairs by an independent legal entity at no cost.

We exhort the Official Stanford Investors Committee, which represents all Stanford investors’ interests worldwide, to voice our cry and concerns expressed in this open letter to the Courts and other authorities responsible for the Stanford Case. We have the right to know the terms of the agreement prior to a final approval because we are the principal stake holders. You have a fiduciary duty to the Stanford’s victims, and your decisions and actions must be carried out in consideration of the best interests of the victims. It is time that the victims of this atrocity are taken into account.

We hope that tears of innocent families can soften hardened hearts, and that devastated depositors are able to recover their losses without additional setbacks. Our due process and other constitutional rights must be respected. The U.S. Receiver, the Joint Liquidators, the Official Stanford Investors Committee and the Courts must make their principles coincide with their actions and show the world, with concrete and immediate actions, their commitment to honesty, equality and justice.  
We pray to God that the rights of the victims prevail over the judicial manipulations, and that good conscience is the instrument to impart justice. God bless the hearts of thousands of innocent families - victims of a fraud that still continues to this date.    

Jaime R. Escalona
On behalf of COViSAL
Coalición Víctimas de Stanford América Latina (COViSAL)             
Twitter: @COViSAL

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