ECB suspend Sir Allen Stanford negotiations after 'fraud' charge
The England & Wales Cricket Board yesterday suspended relations with Sir Allen Stanford after he was charged with what United States investigators allege is a "massive, ongoing fraud."
A Dallas Federal court was asked to freeze Stanford's assets and his company was put in the hand of receivers after the Securities and Exchange Commission took drastic action following days of intense speculation about his company.
"We are alleging a fraud of shocking magnitude that has spread its tentacles throughout the world," said Rose Romero, director of the SEC's Fort Worth office.
Last week Telegraph Sport revealed that Stanford was locked ion discussions with the ECB over a new sponsorship deal to fund quadrangular tournaments at Lord's for the next three years.
Those talks continued as three federal agencies in the United States, as well as the FBI, conducted investigations into Stanford's bank, which is located in Antigua.
On Tuesday those negotiations were at an end. "Following allegations made today (Tuesday) by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and their decision to apply for a temporary restraining order which was filed in a Dallas/Fort Worth court, the England and Wales Cricket Board and the West Indies Cricket Board have suspended negotiations with Sir Allen Stanford and his financial corporation concerning a new sponsorship deal," said an ECB statement.
Giles Clarke, the recently re-elected chairman of the ECB, was told of the news of Stanford's charge while watching England's second Test against the West Indies on Stanford's home island of Antigua.
He will now face serious questions over the ECB's five year deal with Stanford which was announced last June in spectacular style when the Texan landed his black helicopter at Lord's before he was photographed alongside Clarke behind a box full of dollar bills.
"The ECB have walked into the open arms of a man who has been accused of a massive fraud and who through his actions during the Stanford Super Series brought the game of cricket into disrepute," said Lord Marland, Clarke's opponent during the recent election.
"The ECB have failed in their due diligence and were negotiating with him up to the 11th hour to strike a new deal and at any other organisation those responsible for this would resign. The pictures of Giles Clarke and Stanford posing behind that chest of money will haunt English cricket forever."
The SEC have been investigating Stanford for months and at the weekend it emerged the FBI were also examining the business practises of the Stanford International Bank.
The authorities in the United States have been heavily criticised for failing to clamp down on the actions of Bernie Madoff, the New York broker recently accused of a $50 billion pyramid selling fraud.
Rise and fall
Feb 25: Stanford reveals his plan for a $20 million Twenty20 match which he calls the “OK Corral” of cricket.
June 11: Stanford signs a five-year $100m deal with the ECB. He lands his helicopter at Lord’s before having his photograph taken with a chest of dollar bills.
Oct 27: The Stanford Super Series gets off to a bad start when he sits the pregnant wife of England wicketkeeper Matt Prior on his knee. Stanford issues apology to the team.
Oct 28: A party for England and the Superstars is cancelled as Stanford avoids a public meeting with Kevin Pietersen’s team.
Oct 29: ECB announce a review of the Stanford deal, three days before the $20m match takes place.
Nov 1: England are thrashed by 10 wickets as the Stanford Superstars team, led by Chris Gayle, become dollar millionaires.
Dec 17: Stanford sacks his board of legends, which included Sir Viv Richards and Sir Garfield Sobers, and closes his office in Antigua. His deal with the ECB looks dead.
Feb 11: Announces the end of his $20m match after one year but confirms the Stanford Quadrangular will take place at Lord’s in May.
Feb 17: Securites and Exchange Commission charge Sir Allen Stanford and three associates with alleged fraud 'of shocking magnitude'.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/cricke ... harge.html