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Stanford Scandal Muddies Reputation of Antigua


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For many years, the small Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda
has been fighting to earn a reputation as one of the world’s most reliable and
trustworthy online gambling jurisdictions, but a recent scandal smacking of
corruption and fraud may well end up destroying that same reputation.

Banking authorities in the United States recently accused Leroy King, the head
of the Antigua and Barbuda Financial Services Regulatory Commission, of
being in the pocket of now-jailed U.S.-born billionaire, Sir Allen Stanford, by
accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to ‘look the other way.’

Stanford made news headlines in February this year, when he was charged by the
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with fraud and multiple violations of
U.S. securities laws in what is now known to be an elaborate ‘$8 billion Ponzi
scheme’. As a result, he was arrested by the FBI in  June this year.

At the core of the Ponzi scheme was Stanford’s banking operations, most of which
are based on Antigua. They were supposed to be monitored by the Antigua and
Barbuda Financial Services Regulatory Commission, the same commission
responsible for monitoring and regulating the nation’s online gambling industry.

Now, as a result of the scandal, the honesty and integrity of Antigua’s online
gambling sector is being called into question, given that King  – who resigned
from his post following the accusations by U.S. Banking authorities – was
allegedly susceptible to accepting bribes and looking the other way when
instructed.

At the heart of the accusation is that the audits King conducted on Stanford’s
banks were ‘just for appearances’ and were designed to cloak any financial
anomalies and inconsistencies. The news of King’s fraudulent actions have gone
down badly with online gambling operators based on the island, who feel
betrayed.

Ironically, at the same time Antigua and Barbuda was poised to receive a coveted
White Listing by UK gaming regulators – a high-level seal of approval in effect
– news of the Allen Stanford scandal broke. Now, the online gambling and
financial goings in Antigua will be under global scrutiny more than ever before.

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