Hunton & Williams delays record disclosures in Stanford case

Oct 19, 2009   

By: Paul Brinkmann
October 19, 2009

Attorneys at one of Miami’s largest law offices are waiting for a Texas judge to rule on whether they should be forced to turn over records of their work for accused Ponzi schemer R. Allen Stanford.

Carlos Loumiet, Miami-based attorney for Hunton & Williams, helped Stanford set up a special trust office to move millions of dollars to Antigua before the SEC shut down Stanford International Bank earlier this year.

Hunton & Williams has agreed to turn over records related to Stanford’s U.S. operations and some limited files about representing Stanford personally, but it is fighting the request for records about Stanford operations based in Antigua.

Attorneys for Stanford receiver Ralph Janvey said Hunton & Williams’ refusal to turn over certain records has “jeopardized” the ability to recover and preserve assets for victims of the alleged scheme.

Kevin Sadler, of the Baker Botts law firm in Austin, Texas, represents the receiver.

In March, Hunton & Williams’ general counsel, Robert Rolfe, wrote to Sadler, saying that the law firm believes U.S. federal courts lack jurisdiction over the Antiguan companies, and that a receiver in Antigua may have jurisdiction.

Loumiet was in Greenberg Traurig’s Miami office when he began working for Stanford in the late 1990s.The Miami Herald reported Greenberg Traurig is being drawn into the investigation.

Loumiet, Greenberg Traurig and Hunton & Williams have not responded to the Business Journal’s request for interviews about the Stanford case.

In correspondence attached to court filings, Rolfe said Hunton & Williams maintains all the work it did for Stanford was “legal work.”

Janvey could be looking for law firm records for several reasons, said Andrew Ittleman, a partner with Fuerst Humphrey Ittleman in Miami who specializes in anti-money laundering law. The receiver probably just believes the records could help him investigate Stanford’s operations, he said, and is trying to determine if firms that advised a defunct company could be relief defendants.

“It’s more likely the firms are also victims of Stanford’s,” he added, noting lawyers should recognize illegal schemes if they work for one long enough.

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