Allen Stanford guilty of 13 of 14 charges

Mohit Singh, March 8 2012,
Could be jailed for 20 years if appeal is rejected
Could be jailed
Could be jailed
Allen Stanford the former Texan financier, has been found guilty in a Houston court on 13 charges, out of the 14 with which he had been charged.

Amongst these was conspiracy to defraud. Stanford had been a central player in one of the most embarrassing episodes in the entire history of English cricket, when the English Cricket Board (ECB) had seen the American as a financial saviour, and business tycoon, who would be able to offer then English game a credible counter to India's domination of the game, following the launch of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Stanford's attorney Ali Fazel has already indicated that his client will appeal the guilty decision, with his client who is 61 years old, facing a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison, when sentence is passed in a few months time.

The ECB has not yet issued any comment on the court's verdict, being all too aware that they benefitted, albeit unknowingly at the time, from the proceeds of a fraudulent operation, which left investors which number as many as 20,000 facing heavy financial losses and ruin.

Now just plain plain Allen Stanford, as Antigua had stripped him of his knighthood, he had run a Ponzi scheme for some two decades. This scheme depends on providing investors with financial returns on their own money, and on investment by subsequent investors, rather than from any profits that the company may have generated. The proceeds were used by Stanford to maintain the lavish lifestyle that he enjoyed, including his 112-foot yacht, a Miami mansion, and a private jet.

The most infamous stunt that Stanford carried out, as far as the ECB was concerned, was his landing on the outfield at Lord's with a perspex container containing some $20m in ready cash, aimed at promoting a winner take all Twenty20 match between the tycoon's own superstar X1 and an England X1. The stunt was condemned as tacky by many who saw it, long before details of Stanford's business dealings emerged.

The ECB wished to build an alliance with West Indian cricket, which would help counter the growing power and influence of the IPL. There were plans for a Caribbean Twenty20 tournament, and they hoped that he would also become a major sponsor of a re-launched county T20 competition, which would in turn help to protect the first class county game, at a time was its entire future was under threat from the IPL.

At the time, the chief executive David Collier and chairman of the ECB Giles Clarke, has stated that Stanford's support was a coup, and proved that England need not rely entirely upon Indian finances, which was responsible for generating more then two-thirds of cricket revenue around the world. Sadly for English cricket, the plan began to founder almost immediately, ultimately culminating in Stanford's being found guilty of fraud in the American courts.

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