Stanford Lawyers Begin Defense
by: Andrew Schneider, February 16, 2012 10:02:00 am
The defense called as its first witness Patrick O’Brien, a 26- year veteran of the U.S. Customs Service and a semi-retired attorney. O’Brien testified how, in the late 1990s, he headed a committee to help the Government of Antigua rewrite its banking laws to fight money laundering. Stanford served on the committee as a private banker.
O’Brien described Stanford as the driving force behind the effort to clean up Antigua’s banks, saying Stanford loaned the island’s government the money to fund the committee. He said Antiguan banking regulator Althea Crick stonewalled the effort, denying the committee access to banking records needed for a report to U.S. law enforcement agencies. The result, he said, was that the U.S. flagged Antigua’s government as uncooperative in fighting money-laundering.
Crick testified earlier for the prosecution.
On cross-examination, O’Brien admitted three of the committee members were Stanford employees. He also admitted expressing concerns in mid-1999 that Stanford had a serious cash flow problem and that the committee might not be paid for its work.