IMF grants Antigua loan amid controversy

18 June 2010

The IMF has faced increased political pressure to refuse a $118 million loan to Antigua and Barbuda following the government’s seizure of assets belonging to Allen Stanford, former head of the now fallen Stanford Investment Bank (SIB). SIB was the largest private employer in the country, and Stanford is now under investigation for fraud. In July 2009 investors in SIB, who have formed the Stanford Victims Coalition (SVC), filed a lawsuit seeking $24 billion from the twin-island nation’s government, who they accuse of turning a blind eye to the bank’s activities. The SVC, through its legal representatives, has recently been lobbying the US government to try to convince them to block the loan to Antigua and Barbuda until the victims of the SIB scandal are compensated. The group claims to have garnered the support of 37 US Congresspersons. In May twelve US Senators wrote to president Barack Obama urging him to demand that the US representative on the board of the Fund ensure the loan was not granted. In June the IMF approved the loan, with Fund spokesperson Jennifer Beckman stating that “it isn’t part of the IMF’s mandate to help private parties in their claims against our member governments.”