What’s more, there’s quite a lot of evidence to suggest that a lot of Stanford’s “investments” were in the kind of micro-cap stocks beloved of pump-and-dump operators. That’s not investing in something liquid and then seeing it freeze up, it’s gambling, and it’s often illegal.
That’s Felix Salmon writing on Allen Stanford, alleged Ponzi operator.
Details of the Texan billionaire’s taste in investments has come out in drips and drabs – to which we would add the following: Stanford International Bank had a 15 per cent holding in an Aim-listed company called American Leisure Group, whose listing was cancelled by the London Stock Exchange last month:
Cancellation of trading of ALG shares on AIM
ALG’s shares were suspended from trading on AIM on 30 June 2008. Under AIM Rule 41, the admission to trading of ALG shares on AIM would therefore, as the suspension has not been lifted, normally have been cancelled automatically by the LSE at 7.00 a.m. on 31 December 2008. However, the LSE agreed, pending further clarification of the Company’s financial position, to extend the date for such cancellation from 31 December 2008 to 16 January 2009.
In view of the continued uncertainty as to the financial position of the Group, the suspension has not been lifted by the LSE and the LSE will cancel the admission to trading of ALG shares on AIM at 7.00 a.m. on Friday 16 January 2009.
As the Company will remain an unquoted company, any further announcements will be made via the Company’s website at www.americanleisuregroupltd.com.
The Directors intend to prepare and publish the audited accounts for the year ended 31 December 2008.
SIB was also ALG’s US investment bank and had extended $28.5m in working capital facilities to the company.
ALG was formed by the merger of American Leisure Holdings, in which SIB was a shareholder, and Azure Property Investments. The company floated on Aim in August 2007, raising £75m at 120p a share, with the now defunct Dawnay Day Corporate Finance acting as nominated adviser, and Collins Stewart Europe as broker.
ALG planned to use the money to help develop a 500 acre landbank in three main locations, all in close proximity to the Disney theme parks in Orlando, Florida.
At the time of flotation the land was independently valued at $625m.
But the company soon ran into trouble and by June 2008 it had been well and truly credit crunched.
Further to the announcement on 9 June that it was engaged in advanced discussions to secure an additional debt facility, American Leisure Group Limited (‘ALG’) today announces that Stanford International Bank Limited (‘Stanford’) has committed to provide new credit facilities of $17.5 million to finance working capital and to allow for the completion and closing of ALG’s first resort units, subject to customary general conditions and requirements.
ALG was scheduled to issue its results for the period ending 31 December 2007 before the end of June. However, the resolution of certain matters relating to the Company’s audit remain outstanding and require additional materials to be provided to the auditors and it has not proved possible to finalise the audit and hence the results. Consequently, trading in the Company’s shares will be suspended with immediate effect under Rule 19 of the AIM Rules. The Company expects to be able to make a further announcement later this week.
ALG did make that statement, but its shares never re-listed.
Six months later, the company finally produced audited results for the period ended 31 December 2007, which you can find here. But by that time the LSE decided enough was enough and ALG was removed from Aim.
The company’s website is still operational but the contact address is a Google Mail account. The offices, naturally, are in the BVI.
According to the Wall Street Journal, some European investors have already filed lawsuits.
“Stanford made loans to a series of Florida real-estate companies affiliated with a development in Orlando called Tierra del Sol, state records show. Tierra del Sol was being built by a firm called American Leisure Group Ltd. that traded on the London Stock Exchange until December, when it was delisted. Some Europeans who bought units in the Tierra del Sol development are pursuing lawsuits in an effort to get their money back, according to their lawyer and to court records in Florida. Executives of American Leisure didn’t respond to requests for comment.”