Posted Jun 09, 2009 12:19 pm CDT
Billionaire financier R. Allen Stanford has hired maritime lawyers to defend him on civil charges of running an $8 billion investment fraud.
Stanford has hired lawyers from the Gulf Law Group in Washington, D.C., to help defend him on civil fraud charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, reports the Reuters blog, Licensed to Opine and Blog.
Stanford’s new law firm calls itself a full-service firm, but it appears to focus on admiralty and maritime law, according to the blog. The firm’s website features photographs of a lighthouse, a cargo ship and an offshore drilling platform.
“The R. Allen Stanford legal defense story keeps getting stranger and stranger,” the blog says. “But maybe the selection of the Gulf firm isn’t as odd as it may seem. There is something a little Thurston Howell III about Stanford.”
A spokeswoman for public relations firm Qorvis Communications told the blog that Stanford is also represented by lawyers outside the Gulf firm; Houston criminal defense lawyer Dick DeGuerin is also on the legal team.
TPMMuckraker suggests that the hiring of maritime lawyers may suggest that Stanford plans to argue the SEC does not have jurisdiction over his Antigua bank. The SEC civil suit accuses Stanford of defrauding investors in bank certificates of deposit at the Antigua affiliate by promising improbable returns and claiming wrongly that the money was in safe investments.