December 30, 2010
Stanford Financial Group’s chief investment officer is suing Lloyd’s of London, alleging it failed to pay for her legal defense under terms of an insurance policy.
Laura Pendergest-Holt alleges in the suit, filed in state court in Dallas, that Lloyd’s has not responded to a number of requests to provide the funds through Stanford’s Directors and Officers Liability and Company Indemnity policy. Such policies are common at many companies and cover the legal defense for executives facing lawsuits by investors or other parties.
Pendergest-Holt was named in civil fraud charges filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Feb. 17 against the company and two other executives, Stanford Chairman R. Allen Stanford and Chief Financial Officer James Davis.
On Feb. 26 she was arrested on criminal charges of lying to SEC investigators. She has not formally entered a plea but her attorneys have said she is innocent, and she is free on $300,000 bail. She is the only person so far facing criminal charges in connection with the investigation.
Like her co-defendants in the civil case, Pendergest-Holt has had her assets frozen and she “thus has no assets to defend herself against the SEC’s claims,” the suit says.
Pendergest-Holt lawyer Brent Baker of Salt Lake City said Lloyd’s hasn’t responded to inquiries and “we need to be able to present a defense for her.”
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