-by our correspondent.
Victims of ponzi scheme operated by convicted fraudster, Robert Allen Stanford, in the United States, would soon heave a sigh of relief following announcement by the Federal Ministry of Justice that Switzerland will return the outstanding $150m from its blocked bank accounts by the end of the year.
Stanford, a former Texas financier popularly known by his middle name, Allen, was found guilty of fraud by a Houston panel of judges in 2012 in a $7.2 billion fraud that lasted two decades.
The justice ministry said about $50 million had previously been returned and in October, the Swiss criminal court had rejected appeals against the seizure of the assets, paving the way for the remaining $150m to be returned by the end of December.
Fraudster Allen Stanford escorted by prison officials
According to U.S. District Court filings from 2012, Stanford who is now serving a 110-year prison term, paid millions of dollars into his Stanford International Bank, an arm of the French bank, Societe Generale, from where he frequently withdrew money to run a fleet of private jets and a 100-foot yacht.
According to the Swiss justice ministry, “The release of the blocked funds became possible after the American financier Allen Stanford’s fraud conviction became permanent,”
U.S. federal prosecutors said Stanford was a “ruthless predator” who routed $116 million in … proceeds “through the Swiss slush fund he controlled at Societe Generale”. According to Swiss court filings, Societe Generale spent many years fighting allegations that it failed to uphold its anti-money laundering obligations in accepting Stanford’s money.