Law Firms

Stanford Receiver Seeks Greenberg Traurig Records on Setup of ‘Money Pipeline'

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A court-appointed receiver is seeking the records of Greenberg Traurig showing how the Miami law firm helped set up an unregulated “money pipeline” to the Antigua bank run by alleged Ponzi schemer R. Allen Stanford, according to a report published this weekend.

Under the arrangement, Stanford set up a special trust office in Miami that allowed him to move millions of dollars to Antigua without reporting to the government, the Miami Herald reports. The receiver seeking the records, Ralph Janvey, was appointed to recover money for investors who lost money as a result of Stanford’s alleged $7 billion Ponzi scheme involving certificates of deposit at the Antigua bank.

In response to the coverage, a spokeswoman for Greenberg Traurig told the ABA Journal that “no governmental agency in the United States or abroad has subpoenaed or asked Greenberg Traurig to provide any documents relevant to this situation.”

According to the Miami Herald, also under scrutiny are actions by Greenberg Traurig lawyers that helped change Antiguan banking laws, allowing Stanford to eliminate competitors and flourish.

Greenberg lawyers helped Stanford lobby to change the Antiguan laws. The idea was to make the regulator independent of the Antiguan government and to avert a U.S. Treasury blacklisting of all Antiguan banks, under criticism for money laundering and fraud. Stanford paid for a task force that rewrote the Antiguan banking laws, and two Greenberg lawyers were among the task force members, according to the story.

The legislation created a new regulatory agency in Antigua. Stanford was a board member, “a move that gave Stanford sweeping protection from regulators for the next 10 years,” the story says. Although Stanford stepped down from the Antiguan banking agency amid criticism from the U.S. Treasury, the “momentum” continued, the Miami Herald writes. The result: The banking agency enforced new banking rules that eliminated most of the offshore banks in Antigua that were Stanford’s competitors.

One of the Greenberg lawyers who was helping Stanford, Carlos Loumiet, moved to Hunton & Williams in 2001, taking Stanford’s business and the records with him. Loumiet and Hunton have agreed to give the receiver records of legal work for Stanford’s U.S. companies, but are fighting to keep the Antigua records secret, the story says.

According to the Greenberg Traurig spokeswoman “The information or documents addressed in the [Miami Herald] article involved work performed more than eight years ago.”

“As you know, attorneys normally take documents, and often clients, with them when they move to a new firm,” the spokeswoman said. “As a firm, we have never lost focus when it comes to the delivery of legal services in an ethical and professional manner. The firm is not aware of any evidence of any wrongdoing of any of its personnel in connection with this situation.”

Another law firm that did work for Stanford, Proskauer Rose, has been sued by investors who claim a conspiracy to perpetrate fraud.

Last updated 6:44 p.m. to add comments from a Greenberg Traurig spokeswoman.

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