London: HSBC Holdings Plc won a battle at the UK’s top court in a case over allegations it turned a “blind eye” to suspicious payments made by convicted billionaire swindler Allen Stanford.
In a split decision, the country’s top judges dismissed an appeal by Stanford International Bank, which effectively ends the long-running dispute. HSBC fought a claim from the administrators of SIB, who’d previously alleged that the lender should have known of the fraud, when it made some $140 million of payments.
SIB, which was controlled by Stanford, sold billions of dollars in bogus certificates of deposit to more than 17,000 investors worldwide before it imploded in 2009. At the time, the plot was the second-largest Ponzi scheme prosecuted in the US, behind the Madoff investor fraud, which came to light a few months earlier.
HSBC, which acted as the correspondent bank to SIB, had already been successful in a lower court in asserting it had no duty to block the payments. The hearing in the Supreme Court revolved around whether there was any recoverable loss.
Stanford is now serving a federal prison sentence of 110 years. The Antigua based SIB’s administrators didn’t repsond to email sent outside of normal business hours. A spokesperson for HSBC welcomed the verdict.