Page last updated at 04:52 GMT, Thursday, 26 February 2009

Call for Stanford 'land seizure'

Sir Allen Stanford - file photo 11/06/2008
Sir Allen (here in an archive image) is also a cricket promoter

The government of Antigua and Barbuda has called on parliament to approve the takeover of land and assets owned by Sir Allen Stanford, the financier.

Sir Allen, the islands' largest private employer, has been accused in the US of a large investment fraud.

An emergency parliamentary session will on Thursday consider authorising the seizure of about 100 hectares of land and assets belonging to him.

This could help secure the jobs of 800 employees and pay his company's debts.

His businesses on the island include two restaurants, a newspaper, cricket grounds, a development company, a three-branch local bank and the headquarters of his offshore bank.

Shocking fraud

Sir Allen faces civil charges after being accused by the US authorities of defrauding up to 50,000 customers around the world.

Last week, FBI agents in the US state of Virginia served the Texan billionaire with civil legal papers from the SEC, the US financial watchdog.

Sir Allen disappeared from public view when he was accused by the SEC of an $8bn (5.6bn) fraud. The SEC filed a civil case in court describing the case as a "fraud of shocking magnitude".

The cricket impresario is accused of luring investors with promises of improbable and unsubstantiated high returns on certificates of deposit and other investments.

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