In response to the Ambassador’s question about his business ventures, he discussed his plans to develop a number of homes in the US$10-20 million range and a world class golf course on a small island off the coast of Antigua.
Stanford’s second big venture in the Caribbean is investment in new airplanes for his Caribbean Star airline. (Note: The recent Federal Aviation Administration Category One rating for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States means Antigua-based Caribbean Star can begin flights to the U.S. See Ref A for more details. End Note). He expects to be running about 400 flights a week throughout the Caribbean, including to San Juan and Caracas, but it is unclear when this expansion will occur.
Keeping a distance:
Embassy officers do not reach out to Stanford because of the allegations of bribery and money laundering. The Ambassador managed to stay out of any one-on-one photos with Stanford during the breakfast. For his part, Stanford said he preferred to conduct his business without contacting the Embassy, resolving any investment disputes directly with local governments. It is whispered in the region that Stanford facilitates resolution with significant cash contributions.
Of course, as we now know, Stanford did far more than bribe foreign officials. Bloomberg reported on his illicit activities in 2009, including this interesting little nugget:
In 1999, Stanford Financial tried to take over Antiguan International Business Corp., which regulated offshore companies on the island, said Jonathan Winer, then a deputy U.S. assistant secretary of state.
State Department cables sent from the U.S. Embassy and provided to Bloomberg described a “power grab” and criticized the Stanford’s company’s hiring of U.S. consultants to revise Antigua’s offshore-banking rules.
I'll bet you $100 those "U.S. consultants" were on the US Chamber of Commerce referral lists.
As is often the case with the high-fliers after they're shot down, Mr. Stanford's attorney claims he is suffering from an unspecified psychiatric disorder, is medicated, and unfit to stand trial. A government psychiatrist will be examining him before the judge makes a ruling. His trial is scheduled to begin in January, 2011.
Even if he is a psychopath, they should simply reduce the meds and make him stand trial. My guess is that he can rattle too many skeletons in others' closets for them to allow such a thing.