Page last updated at 09:41 GMT, Thursday, 12 March 2009

Stanford will not talk to inquiry

Sir Allen Stanford - file photo 11/06/2008
Sir Allen was Antigua's largest private employer

Billionaire American financer Sir Allen Stanford has refused to talk to US regulators investigating his alleged $8bn (5.6bn) fraud.

Court documents have shown that Sir Allen has pleaded the Fifth Amendment - the right to withhold potentially self-incriminating evidence.

The civil case against Sir Allen has been brought by US financial watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission.

His assets have been frozen, but he does not yet face any criminal charges.


The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says Sir Allen is guilty of a fraud of "shocking magnitude".

They accuse him of orchestrating the fraud through his Stanford Financial Group, which the SEC says offered unrealistically high returns to investors.

The SEC says he ran a Ponzi-style fraud scheme, whereby earlier investors were paid returns through money gained from newer investors, rather than from any actual investment profit.

Sir Allen came to prominence last year when he sponsored a high-profile Twenty20 cricket tournament, which culminated in a between England and an all-stars West Indies team that gave each winning player $1m.

His property in the Caribbean state of Antigua and Barbuda, where many of his business interests are based, was recently seized by the islands' government.

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