Before he was charged with massive fraud, Sir Allen Stanford was often charged with an equally grievous offense: subverting the game of cricket. The Texan was among the sport’s deepest-pocketed fans, but the fast-paced Twenty20 tournaments he favored annoy purists. When Stanford put up $20 million in prize money for a winner-take-all match in Antigua—the most ever awarded for a cricket game—many cringed.
The match pitted England’s national team against a West Indian all-star squad, dubbed the “Stanford Superstars.” To promote it, Stanford flew a helicopter to Lord’s Cricket Ground, bringing a giant box filled with millions in cash. “It was so cheap and nasty,” said the chairman of the Leicestershire County Cricket Club. “Effectively, we rented out our national cricket team for a prize fight.”