Memo to Allen Stanford: Be careful what you write in memos, because they leak. Bloomberg’s Alison Fitzgerald has her hands on his latest missive to employees:
R. Allen Stanford, the billionaire chairman of Houston-based investment firm Stanford Group Co., said he will “fight with every breath to continue to uphold our good name” in the face of investigations by U.S. securities regulators.
“We are all aware that former disgruntled employees have gone to the regulators questioning our work and our processes,” Stanford said today in an e-mail to staff members that was obtained by Bloomberg News. “This could have compounded an otherwise routine examination.”
“On the issue of Stanford International Bank, I want to be very clear,” Stanford said in the e-mail. “SIB remains a strong institution, and even without the benefit of billions in U.S. taxpayers’ dollars we are taking a number of decisive steps to reinforce our financial strength. We will take the necessary actions to protect our depositors.”
This is all very fishy. Here’s what one would expect Stanford to be saying and doing if he was entirely kosher: he would be welcoming the SEC and Finra investigations, and promising to cooperate fully with them. He would be talking openly to the press about why a billionaire needs to borrow money at 7.5% and how exactly he’d managed to get such spectacular returns. He would be wheeling out two gruntled former employees for every disgruntled one. And he would immediately replace his now-deceased auditor with a respectable international firm.
What would he not do? Well, vow to "fight", for one: who, exactly, does he think he’s fighting? He wouldn’t talk about "protecting" his depositors: protect them from what? According to his official accounts, Stanford International Bank was profitable last year, and that’s all the "protection" they need. And, of course, he wouldn’t fail to return money to depositors who ask for it, as I’ve heard tell has already started to happen.
Say what you like about Bernie Madoff, he knew when the gig was up and didn’t try to hide it. Since the truth about SIB is going to come out sooner rather than later anyway, Stanford should just open up and tell us all what’s been going on himself.