Allen Stanford has gone on a PR blitz in an effort to clear his name. But from the looks of it, he may already be regretting doing so.
The Texas billionaire, accused earlier this year by the SEC of orchestrating a “massvie ongoing fraud,” sat down today with the New York Times, in the office of his lawyer, Dick DeGuerin. That interview was preceded by one with the Houston Chronicle.
The Times’ writeup is worth excerpting at length:
Tears welling in his eyes, Mr. Stanford came out swinging in an interview Monday in his lawyer’s office. He accused the Securities and Exchange Commission of squandering the assets of his financial companies and engaging in “Gestapo tactics”, [TPMmuckraker ed note: that echoes a line DeGuerin first tried out on us] asserted the court-appointed receiver was “not up to the job” and accused the media of making him into a “caricature” of a maverick, unruly Texan who threw money around the Caribbean.
“It’s devastated me to the core of my soul,” Mr. Stanford said, “to see over 25 years of blood, sweat and tears — my life’s work — to be taken from me.”
He said the credit cards in his wallet were worthless and he did not even have money to pay his lawyer.
“It’s debilitating, devastating, horrific,” he said, wearing a double-breasted blue suit and conservative tie, his legs moving constantly. “But I am going to fight for my name and I am going to win.”
The anger of the man came close to boiling over when he told a photographer taking his picture that the clicks of the camera shutter made his respond like “Pavlov’s dog.” He added, “I start to get an itch to grab somebody by the throat.” Later in the interview, he asked the photographer if he wanted to take a picture of him strangling the reporter doing the interview.
Stanford denied that he had run a Ponzi scheme:
“It’s no Ponzi scheme, it’s no fraud,” Mr. Stanford repeatedly said. “Everything was there, real assets backed up by real investments.” He said the S.E.C. “took an organization that had a net value of about $3.5 to $5 billion and basically crippled it, they rendered it almost worthless.”
And he signaled that part of his defense strategy will likely involve blaming his second in command, Jim Davis, who was his college roommate:
“The investment and risk committee reported to Jim Davis, not to me,” he said, carefully choosing his words. “The Stanford International Bank quarterly report was produced in Tupelo, Miss., under Davis’s direction and signed off by him. I trusted his integrity.”
Davis’ lawyer has said that the scheme was masterminded by Stanford, and that Davis is cooperating with prosecutors.