Trinidad & Tobago Express

The Stanford meltdown

We checked on Stanford - WICB

Garth Wattley

February 21, 2009

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In happier times: Allen Stanford and his board of West Indian legends © Stanford 20/20
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Donald Peters, the chief executive of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), has said his board did attempt to do background checks on Allen Stanford before entering into a five-year deal with him along with the ECB.

"Both the ECB and the [West Indies] board did due dilligence checks," he told the Trinidad & Tobago Express. When asked if the WICB did these checks independently of their British counterparts, Peters responded: "The ECB certainly have more resources than us, so they led the checks."

Both boards have been left with cricket projects in limbo as a result of fraud charges being laid against Stanford, who was sponsoring the Stanford Super Series, the first edition of which was held last year when a Stanford Superstars team won a US$20 million winner-takes-all match against England. English counties also received £50,000 each from that game.

Stanford also ran the Stanford 20/20 regional series, from which territorial boards received money for cricket development, and was set to bankroll a quadrangular tournament in England later this year. Stanford was also supposed to contribute to the WICB's Chance to Shine development programme, scheduled to get going later this year.

Peters insisted Stanford's legal problems and frozen assets were not something the WICB could see coming. "They [the Stanford Financial Group] are a legitimately registered business in the Caribbean. There was no reason to believe there was anything fraudulent about the company. We're not forensic accountants here."

However, even the ICC had decided against doing business with Stanford after a meeting in 2007 before the ICC World Twenty20 final between India and Pakistan. Stanford had proposed an annual triangular tournament involving two full member teams and his All-Star side. But when he suddenly changed the proposal at the last minute to include just the winners of that final, the ICC backed off.

"Any thought we might have had of doing business with him was placed on the back burner when he moved the goalposts immediately," ICC president David Morgan had told the Telegraph.

Stanford had also previously approached cricket authorities in India and South Africa with big money proposals without success.

© Trinidad & Tobago Express

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