Any Allen Stanford interview that doesn't come with tears or promises to "die and go to hell if [this] is a Ponzi scheme" or threats to punch his interviewer in the mouth or at the very least take place within earshot of a cocktail lounge is going to be something of a letdown. That much is obvious. He's spoiled us, and if you're going to kick off your media blitz with salty discharge and threats of assault, you'd better have something good down the road. Nevertheless, here are some highlights from the latest meet and greet with CNBC's Scott Cohn, on the matter of Stanford Financial possibly being a massive fraud.
Q: At the heart of the allegations from the sec are the returns you claimed and the interest you paid on the CDs: 7.45% in 2005, 7.87% in 2006, 5.375% last year when prevailing interest rates were a whole lot lower and you couldn't get a CD in this country paying more than about 2 percent. How did you do it if it wasn't a Ponzi scheme?
A: First of all how did we pay 2 billion in early redemption of CDs in October, November, December, early January of this year without having the Fed to go to like the big banks here? Citibank and Bank of America and Wachovia-- just going down the line--ran out of money, and they had to go to the Federal Reserve to get money to pay their depositors or they wouldn't have had any money. We stood on our own two feet with no fed window to go to and that right there tells you it's no Ponzi scheme.
Q: So these weren't fictitious returns?
A: No...though there were some things I found out in meetings that my attorney has instructed me not to discuss.
Q: Did you have investments with Madoff?
A: I asked our CFO, "did we have any exposure to Madoff?" He said "no." Later on I found out we had a 400k exposure. So in the scope of things I guess It was minimal. But the answer would've been yes, we did have exposure to the tune of $400K is what I was told later but in terms of our investments that was nothing so there, there's your answer.
Q: Tell me about what these funds were invested in that allowed you to do so well...How were you doing so much better than everyone else?
A: Well, it's all relative. How much better were we doing? A couple of points better. We weren't doing any double digit returns. No, that's a misnomer. But you've got to look at our structure. We were in a low tax jurisdiction. You had one sole shareholder myself, who was not looking to see the benefits for himself.. In other words shareholders were not the primary driving business, modus operandi, it was to get the client the most money, that was the modus operandi.
Earlier: Sir Stanford: "You're F'ing Right I'm Gonna Fight"