The court-appointed receiver overseeing Texas billionaire Allen Stanford's financial empire will keep the names of investors confidential, a relief to Latin Americans who fear they could be targeted by criminals, a lawyer said on Wednesday.
The receiver has agreed to protect the identity of investors and to respect their privacy. This is especially important to investors in Latin America, Stephen F. Malouf, a Dallas attorney representing hundreds of South American clients who were Stanford investors, told Reuters.
Malouf told Reuters late Tuesday he had been seeking such an agreement with the court-appointed receiver, Ralph Janvey.
Janvey's office could not be reached immediately for comment, but Malouf showed Reuters an email exchange with his office in which the agreement was made.
In much of Latin America, public knowledge that a person is wealthy or has money for investment purposes can make the investor and his family targets for kidnappers.
Stanford, his two top aides and three of his companies are accused by U.S. regulators of operating an $8 billion securities fraud involving high-yield certificates of deposit issued by Stanford's offshore bank in Antigua.
Stanford has asserted his constitutional right not to cooperate with SEC investigators, according to a court filing on Wednesday. The SEC's claim that Stanford carried out a massive Ponzi scheme are false, his lawyer has said.
Stanford's financial advisers targeted upper-middle-class and wealthy investors in countries including Venezuela, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador with promises of low risk and high returns.
The Stanford financial and investment network stretched from Houston to the Caribbean and Latin America. In Venezuela alone, Stanford clients may have invested up to $2.5 billion in offshore accounts.
The names of Bernard Madoff's investors were made public, something that Malouf said his Latin American clients, including many in Venezuela, did not want repeated.
Madoff is accused of bilking investors out of nearly $65 billion in a separate securities fraud case.
(Editing by John Wallace and Jeffrey Benkoe)