May 11, 2009 / 5:36 PM / 9 years ago

IRS opposes Stanford's Antigua liquidators-filing

* Antiguan liquidators could hinder tax collection-IRS

* IRS says some computer records already spoiled

By Anna Driver

HOUSTON, May 11 (Reuters) - The Internal Revenue Service said on Monday that Antiguan liquidators seeking U.S. court authority over Allen Stanford’s offshore bank may hinder the agency’s attempts to collect $227 million in back taxes from the billionaire who faces civil fraud charges.

The IRS, which is a party in the $8 billion fraud case against Stanford, argued in court papers filed in U.S. District Court in Dallas on Monday that the Antigua liquidators had already spoiled computer records from the bank’s Canadian office.

“Second, a tribunal in Antigua, with its reputation as a tax haven country that promotes financial secrecy, may not divulge the financial records of Stanford International Bank sought by the IRS,” the court filing said.

Nigel Hamilton-Smith and Peter Wastell are liquidators appointed by an Antiguan court. The men are at odds with U.S. receiver Ralph Janvey over who should have jurisdiction over Stanford International Bank Ltd, the institution at the heart of the case.

Hamilton-Smith and Wastell said in April that they had received approval from an Antiguan court to liquidate the offshore bank. At the time, the pair said the bank was deep in the red, with far more liabilities than assets.

A UK-based spokeswoman for the the Antigua liquidators did not have an immediate comment.

Stanford and two other executives are accused of a massive fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In the alleged scheme, earlier investors in the offshore bank’s certificates of deposit were paid with funds from later investors in what the SEC described as a Ponzi scheme.

Stanford, who does not face criminal charges but said he expects to be indicted, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

The case is Securities and Exchange Commission vs. Stanford International Bank Ltd et al 3:09-CV-298 in U.S. District Court in Dallas. (Reporting by Anna Driver; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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