The Stanford Financial Group’s business activities are being investigated by the US authorities. The financial group is owned by Sir Allen Stanford, a Texas Billionaire and an Antiguan Knight. Over the last few years Sir Allen Stanford’s name became a household word to all West Indians and the cricketing world because of the huge prizes he offered to mainly West Indian Cricketers. Now his financial empire is under scrutiny for offering rates of returns to investors that seemed too good to be true just as Sir Allen’s cricket prizes were.
I have a hunch that this may be the end of the lucrative side of the Stanford 20Twenty Tournament in the West Indies and there is much speculation about the cancellation of the US$20 million dollar England/West Indies 20/20 for 20 Tournament. The West Indies cricket team easily won the first match of the 20/20 for 20 Tournament with each West Indian player pocketing one million dollars US while the wife of an English cricketer won the privilege to sit on the billionaire’s lap. Many people said this prize (money) was too good to be true and it was poisoning cricket but nobody died. Sir Allen also added several novelties to the game such as interviews with players on the field and the Super Over Tie -Breaker. The one missing attraction to the Stanford 20/20 matches was cheerleaders, Indian Premier League style. Some cricket traditionalists were upset that Stanford, an American, threatened to take the game away from its non-American roots but now they may not have to worry.
Both West Indian and English Cricketers are concerned they may not have another shot at the multimillion dollar prize again but world financial conditions and the FBI might determine what happens next. Cricket needs a shot in the arm again and if Sir Allen Stanford cannot do it then maybe a consortium of business men can. Stanford showed the world what was possible with cricket but he may not be able to do it if he is shackled for his past.
UPDATE – 17-02-2009 :
Washington, D.C., Feb. 17, 2009 – The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Robert Allen Stanford and three of his companies for orchestrating a fraudulent, multi-billion dollar investment scheme centering on an $8 billion CD program.
Stanford’s companies include Antiguan-based Stanford International Bank (SIB), Houston-based broker-dealer and investment adviser Stanford Group Company (SGC), and investment adviser Stanford Capital Management. The SEC also charged SIB chief financial officer James Davis as well as Laura Pendergest-Holt, chief investment officer of Stanford Financial Group (SFG), in the enforcement action. ~ The Wall Street Journal