MIAMI, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. banker Allen Stanford went to great lengths to hide his failing financial condition as fraud investigators closed in, records and interviews indicate.
Court filings and interviews with a dozen staff members by The Miami Herald revealed Stanford -- who faces money-laundering and fraud charges in what authorities say was a $7 billion financial scam -- burned records in the Virgin Islands, flew to Libya to convince leaders to prop up his failing empire and bought two Caribbean islands then "flipped" them to inflate his bank's assets, the newspaper reported Sunday.
"He was desperate," Jonas Hagg, a longtime Fort Lauderdale executive chef who lived on Stanford's yacht, told the newspaper. "You never knew from day to day what was going to happen. He was flying by the seat of his pants."
The Herald said Stanford destroyed key records, which has stymied federal investigators seeking to build a case against him for allegedly fleecing 21,500 investors. He is being held without bond in a federal facility in Texas.
Staffers told the newspaper that Stanford, 57, began drinking heavily as his finances collapsed, one time allegedly smashing bottles and his fists against the mahogany walls of his 112-foot yacht, the Sea Eagle.