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West Indies not dependent on Stanford cash

West Indies Cricket Board president Julian Hunte insisted on Wednesday that the organisation will be fine without Sir Allen Stanford's cash.

The WICB President said the controversial Texan businessman's implication in an alleged billion-dollar investment fraud scheme will not effect the operations of the game in the Caribbean.

"I want to make it clear that the financial viability of West Indies cricket has never depended on Stanford's largesse, and thank God for that because we are now able to proceed," Hunte said.

He added: "When Stanford indicated a few months ago that he was no longer interested in West Indies cricket, it was suggested that we were financially dependent on his money.

"I had to point out that before Stanford's domestic tournament we issued him a licence which brought us in one million US dollars a year for five years.

"He didn't pay the first year and when we got a tripartite agreement between the England and Wales Cricket Board, the WICB and him, we insisted that he pay and we got two million dollars.

"Apart from that, Stanford dealt with the local boards and gave them money, but it ended up with him suspending payments to them and I assume those payments will now stop."

Hunte refused to admit that the WIC were too hasty in entering into an arrangement with Sir Allen, who has been charged with "fraud of shocking magnitude" by the Securities Exchange Commission in the United States.

Sir Allen had entered a franchise agreement with the WICB to stage the Stanford Twenty20 Cup in the Caribbean in 2006 and 2008 which guaranteed the winning team US a million dollars.

Last November, he launched a multi-million dollar event with the WICB and the ECB that culminated in the Stanford Twenty20 match for 20 million dollars between the Stanford Superstars, a selection of the best Caribbean players, and England.

"I don't think there was any way in which we in this part of the world, and the West Indies Cricket Board in particular, would have known there was anything wrong," he said.

"In any event, he has been accused, so we have to wait and see what is happening from here on in and not necessarily rush to judgment at this point in time.

"I think the ECB and ourselves have taken what I consider the appropriate action and we wait to see how this unfolds.

"I just want to thank him for what he has done for West Indies cricket and hopefully the allegations will turn out not to be true, so that we will be able to work together again."

The Securities Exchange Commission in the United States has charged Stanford with orchestrating an eight billion dollar fraudulent investment programme.

The SEC's complaint alleges that the fraud centred on a programme in which Stanford International Bank promised "improbable and unsubstantiated high interest rates".

Three of Sir Allen's companies are involved in the SEC probe including Antigua-based Stanford International Bank, Texas-based Stanford Group Company, and investment adviser Stanford Capital Management.

The SEC Web site said Stanford International Bank Chief Financial Officer James Davis and Stanford Financial Group Chief Investment Officer Laura Pendergest-Holt also face charges.

The SEC added that United States District Judge Reed O'Connor granted a temporary restraining order freezing Sir Allen's assets and appointed a receiver to marshall those assets, as part of a request for emergency relief for the benefit of investors.

source - caribbeannetnews.com
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