July 17, 2009 / 12:11 AM / 11 years ago

Stanford receiver wants to hire private equity firm

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The receiver charged with marshaling assets of accused swindler Allen Stanford said in court papers on Thursday he needs the help of a private equity adviser to manage the estate’s web of investments, which total about $650 million.

Stanford receiver Ralph Janvey would like to hire Park Hill Group LLC, a unit of the Blackstone Group LP (BX.N), a lawyer for Janvey said in a filing in federal court in Dallas.

“The engagement of Park Hill Group will provide the receiver with the necessary financial expertise to properly manage these assets, assess their value and identify potential buyers, thereby maximizing the value to the receivership estate,” the filing said.

Publicly traded firms that Stanford invested in included electronics firm Senesco Technologies Inc SNT.A, DGSE Companies Inc DGC.A, a gold and silver company and pawn shop operator, and a number of privately held firms including financial services firm Golden Financial Services Inc, wound technology company Greystone Pharmaceuticals Inc and biotechnology firm KineMed, court documents show.

So far, the receiver has identified debt and equity investments with initial investment amounts totaling about $650 million. Those investments were made in portfolio companies, private equity and real estate funds, the filing said.

Park Hill Group has agreed to accept an initial $375,000 retainer fee, according to the motion.

In February, U.S. District Judge David Godbey named Janvey to oversee Stanford’s operations. Since then, Janvey has shuttered Stanford offices, frozen accounts and seized the Texas financier’s jets, yacht and homes. He is in the process of divesting those assets.

For example, Janvey asked the court this week to throw Stanford’s daughter out of a $1 million Houston condominium owned by a Stanford company so it could be sold.

Stanford, 59, is accused by U.S. prosecutors of leading a $7 billion Ponzi scheme involving certificates of deposit issued by his bank in Antigua. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Also on Thursday, in Houston, U.S. District Judge David Hittner, who is assigned to the criminal case, agreed to delay Stanford’s fraud trial. It had initially been scheduled for August 25, but Stanford’s lawyer had said that it would take a year to prepare for trial. Hittner did not set a date in his order.

The civil case is filed in federal court in Dallas under 3:09-cv-00298-N Securities and Exchange Commission v. Stanford International Bank Ltd et al. The criminal case is filed in Houston under 4:09-cr-00342 USA v. Stanford et al.

Reporting by Anna Driver in Houston; Editing by Matt Daily, Phil Berlowitz

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