It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
(visit the link for the full news article)
According to ABC News, federal authorities do not know the current whereabouts of Texas banker R. Allen Stanford, who was accused Tuesday by the SEC of trying to bilk some 50,000 customers out of $8 billion. His apparent disappearance comes despite raids Tuesday of Stanford's offices in Houston, Memphis, and Tupelo, Miss.
ABC also reports that federal authorities say the case could grow as big as the $50 billion ponzi scheme allegedly perpetrated by Bernie Madoff
Over the last ten years, R. Allen Stanford -- the Texas billionaire charged by the SEC today with "massive fraud" -- and his companies have spent at least $5 million on lobbying expenditures and campaign contributions to a bipartisan group of congressional leaders.
The heavy political spending comes despite Stanford's history of run-ins with federal regulators dating back at least to 1999, when he caught the attention of the State Department for his role in tightening the already-secretive banking laws of the Caribbean island nation of Antigua.
Stanford gave an additional $100,000 to the Bush Inaugural Committee - as the new administration prepared its own money laundering strategy. More stringent controls were not proposed. Instead, the Treasury Department went to work watering down reporting requirements that are considered burdensome by many (including Stanford) in the financial services industry.61 In August, Treasury changed its tax shelter regulations to allow corporations to avoid some reporting requirements in an attempt to "ease tax administration."
Though tough anti-money-laundering legislation overwhelmingly sailed through the House Banking Committee in 2000, it had difficulty getting to another vote as powerful GOP lawmakers -- then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey, then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay and then-Senate Banking Committee chair Phil Gramm stymied its future.
DeLay was among the largest recipients of Stanford's largesse. And "DeLay's committees paid for flights on Stanford's jets at least 16 times since 2003, including on Oct. 20, the day the former House majority leader was booked in a Houston courthouse on money-laundering charges," according to Bloomberg News.
Stanford Financial or its employees also contributed to the legal defense funds of three lawmakers tarnished by ethics allegations -- DeLay, Democratic Senator Robert Torricelli, Republican Bob Ney.
In recent years, Stanford has been especially active. In the 2008 election cycle, Stanford Financial Group's PAC contributed to a bipartisan group of lawmakers including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, current White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin and House Ways & Means Committee chairman Charles Rangel.