Accounting News Roundup: UBS Deal Back on Track; Allen Stanford’s Circus Causes Problems for Co-Defendants; Zynga Lands $147 Million | 06.15.10
Swiss Parliament Backs UBS Pact [WSJ]
After telling U.S. and IRS to drop dead last week, the lower House of Swiss Parliament has approved the deal to turn over 4,450 names as part of UBS’ settlement involving their assistance to taxpayers in the U.S. evade their obligations through offshore accounts.
There’s one small problem remaining – the lower house wants to put the agreement to a popular referendum while the upper house in parliament is opposed to the idea. The two have until Friday to reconcile their differences, otherwise another vote will be necessary to settle the referendum issue.
The problem with the referendum is that it could take months for happen and it could cause the Swiss to miss the August deadline that it agreed to. This could lead to fresh charges against UBS and further extending a story that pretty much everyone has grown tired of.
Stanford’s Co-Defendants Try to Flee the ‘Circus’ [DealBook]
Stanford’s Chief Investment Officer, Chief Accounting Officer and Controller are all attempting to sever themselves from Al’s proceedings because he’s an absolute drama whore.
Former CIO Laura Pendergest-Holt’s motion to have her trial severed describes RAS’ conduct as ‘egregious and circus-like conduct,’ using the term “circus” at least eight times.
So while a circus is infinitely fun for the rest of us, it doesn’t really do co-conspirators any good when they are trying to get a fair trial.
Dealing With a Toxic Resumé [FINS]
How can you move past a job with a tax company like Stanford, Countrywide, Bear Stearns et al.? You might just want to GIVE UP (and that could be advisable if you were a perp) but there are some things you can do to wash away that taint on your resumé.
For starters don’t bad mouth the old company, even though they probably deserve it. Secondly, you might attach an addendum to your resumé in order to explain the whole sitch and you can always turn the situation into a positive by explaining how you’ve learned from working at such a lousy company.
Keep your chin up, you’ll be back to being a white collar working stiff in no time.
Duke boy dodges tax hazard [Tax Watchdog]
John Schneider, aka Bo Duke, and his wife owe California about $28,000 in back taxes. Turns out his old accountant left him ‘high and dry’ so he’s working it out with Arnie.
Zynga Receives $147 Million Investment From Japan’s Softbank [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]
Memo to Farmville Haters: it’s here to stay and there will be more to come.
In Non-Goldman Sachs News, Mary Schapiro Doesn’t Think Much of Your Report on the SEC’s Response to Allen Stanford
In case you haven’t turned on a TV, been on the Internet or talked to single human being today you’re aware that Mary Schapiro and the Commission are little busy raining shit all over Team Jehovah.
As fun as this must be for the SEC, for some reason there are a few people that would like to discuss the SEC’s reaction to a Ponzi scheme whose alleged perp will likely die awaiting trial.
Even though Mary Schapiro can’t believe this timing (!), fine, she’ll humor you. But don’t interrupt again. They are trying to God’s work (and maybe win over some voters).
The following is a statement from SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro regarding SEC Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Report 526 — “Investigation of the SEC’s Response to Concerns Regarding Robert Allen Stanford’s Alleged Ponzi Scheme”:
“This report recounts events that occurred at the Commission between 1997 and 2005. Since that time, much has changed and continues to change regarding the agency’s leadership, its internal procedures and its culture of collaboration. The report makes seven recommendations, most of which have been implemented since 2005. We will carefully analyze the report and implement any additional reforms as necessary for effective investor protection.”
In other words, “I’m turning this ship around, and most of your bullshit suggestions are already in place, so how about you take your light your OIG report on fire?”
Ernst & Young Gives Going Concern Warning to Allen Stanford Liquidator
If you’re given the task of running down assets that are left over from a Ponzi scheme, you’d think somone would throw in a little something for the effort. That stolen money is going to find itself after all.
Well! Apparently this is not so, especially as it relates to UK recovery firm Vantis. Vantis has been scouring the Earth for any of the plunder left over from the Allen Stanford hide the $7 billion game.
Six months into it, Vantis can’t get paid for its treasure hunt services and now Ernst & Young has said that the firm’s very life is at stake if they can’t start convincing some people to pay up.
Among the excuses that Vantis is claiming are the fact that most of the assets in the U.S. have been frozen and that the U.S. liquidator Ralph Janvey doesn’t play nice.
But hey! They’re still confident everything will be hunk-dory, “The UK recovery firm said it remained ‘confident’ that it would be able to recover its fees ‘in due course’ but said the timing remained uncertain.”
So more or less you’re day-to-day, right? Welcome to the prestigious Club of Those Ripped off by Allen Stanford.
Vantis faces going concern threat over liquidation of Allen Stanford’s bank [Telegraph]
Allen Stanford Won’t Be Home for Christmas
Despite Allen Stanford all but flipping out Judge David Hittner isn’t feeling it, denying his request to be released from prison while awaiting trial.
Stan’s attorney was shocked — SHOCKED! — that the judge was in such a cavalier mood with his client’s well-being:
“The issues we raised were real, as well as legally and factually compelling,” attorney Kent Schaffer said in an e-mail today. “I am surprised that we were shot down so abruptly and without a response from the government or a hearing. I am not sure how Allen will be able to participate in assisting in his own defense and, the truth is, he probably won’t be.”
Stanford is scheduled to go on trial in January 2011 which will probably seems a helluva lot longer if you’re slowly…coming apart…at the seams.
Stanford won’t be released, judge rules [Houston Chronicle]
Stanford Goes to the Bullpen
The task of keeping Allen Stanford out of hell no longer falls on Dick DeGuerin. Clearly DeGuerin didn’t appreciate his client’s crusade to vindicate his name and reputation because he couldn’t even get the guy A/C.
Robert Luskin, a managing partner at Patton Boggs now gets the honor of leading Sir Al’s defense team. At the rate things are going, we’ll handicap the over/under on the number of attorney changes prior to 2010 at 4. Any takers?
Allen Stanford replaces criminal defence lawyer [Reuters]
Allen Stanford Can’t Get Anything Accomplished Under These Conditions
It’s bad enough that Allen Stanford can’t get out of jail in order to properly prepare his defense but now he’s dealing with what may be a preview of what happens if he’s found guilty of running a Ponzi scheme.
It’s bad enough that there isn’t any cricket coverage in prison but the walking gun show has complained about day to day annoyances like the lack of air conditioning in his prison cell, which he shares with 8 to 10 of his closest friends and also a power outage which likely prevented him from reading How to Win Friends and Influence People (The Prison Edition).
Sir Allen discovers there’s no air conditioning in jail [FT Alphaville]
Because the Other Option was to Start Hocking the Stanford Financial Shwag Received for Opening a New Account
Your latest bit of hilarity regarding the Stanford Ponzi Party is that a group of plaintiffs is suing the government of Antigua and Barbuda for $24 billion because the island was allegedly a “full financial partner in the fraud”.
Alphaville isn’t buying it, and they not so accidently, put “Fraud Victims” in quotations which we find hilarious because it almost appears that Alphaville isn’t even buying the “victims” angle as so much as they’re buying the “morons” angle.
The post goes on to inform us that “$24bn is also 24 times Antigua’s 2008 GDP“. Which moves this particular case from the “frivolous” category to the “downright idiotic” category.
Nevertheless, one might conclude that any or all of the following is what got this thing off the ground:
1. Big Al is pulling the strings from jail in order to pay for his defense because, as we learned, he’s got no legit cash.
Ambulance Ponzi victim chasing attorney
3. Banana farmers in Antigua that really don’t have any alternative after getting shaken down by the EU.
So duped people are pissed and they want their money back. They have finally come to the conclusion that the original $8bil has been long ago spent on Scarface-size piles of blow and endless hours spent in houses of ill repute so they’re clutching at straws.
Our advice: Just sue the SEC already.
“Fraud victims” want $24bn from the government of Antigua and Barbuda [FT Alphaville]
Stanford CFO Enters Not Guilty Plea, To Plead Guilty Soon Enough
As expected, James Davis, Stanford Financial’s Chief Number-Maker-Upper has entered his not guilty plea but his counsel has stated that his client will plead guilty to all the charges against him as early as next week. The initial plea has been made in order to finalize the plea agreement with Davis prior to his pleading guilty
This is all occurring while Stan the Man’s attorneys are in New Orleans appealing a Houston judge’s ruling that he has to pump iron in prison throughout his trial. Stan’s attorneys continue to maintain that their client is NOT a flight risk, which is kinda like saying that Bernie Madoff is NOT in jail.
Ex-Stanford CFO to plead guilty within 2 weeks: lawyer [Reuters]
SHOCKER: Doesn’t Appear that Stanford Auditors were Doing Any Auditing
Last week’s indictment of Allen Stanford has brought up the always popular question when fraud, occurs: “Who are the auditors that were asleep at the wheel of this disaster?”
Well, in this case, the auditors were a local UK two-person shop, CAS Hewlett, which must be Queen’s English for Friehling & Horowitz.
It doesn’t appear that CAS Hewlett has a website, but they’ve been doing the Stanford “audits” for at least 10 years, so obv they’re legit. PwC and KPMG both have offices on Antigua but Stanford preferred to stay with its “trusted firm”. Totally understandable.
And the best part? The founder of the firm, Charlesworth “Shelly” Hewlett died in January, approximately a month before the story broke on the Ponz de Stanford.
This all adds up to who-the-fuck-knows if audits were even occurring and for us to speculate if Shelly needed to get got because Stan knew that the poo and fan were coming together. Just sayin’.
Review Comments | 07.20.09
• Lawyer: Ernst auditing helped sink Hinsdale’s Superior Bank – Plaintiff Alan Schein is still claiming conspiracy on E&Y’s part. [Daily Herald]
• Securities Lawsuits Plummet in 2009 – Because they’ve all been filed already [CFO.com]
• Stanford case spreads its tendrils – For a Ponz that simply offered CD’s with out of this world interest rates, the international law and jurisdictional aspects will turn your head in knots. [FT.com]
• TD Ameritrade Settles Securities Case – “TD Ameritrade Inc. agreed to buy back $456 million of auction-rate securities from its clients as part of a settlement with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Pennsylvania securities regulators.” [WSJ]