Regulators seized Texas billionaire Allen Stanfords banks and companies in Antigua and Barbuda,the Caribbean state at the center of fraud charges against him,as the financier surrendered his passport to US authorities. Antiguas government,which in 2006 gave Stanford a knighthood,and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank announced the takeovers on Friday,after a rush by depositors this week to withdraw their funds from Stanford banking affiliates.
Stanford,58,was charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday with fraudulently selling $8 billion in certificates of deposit with improbably high interest rates from his Stanford International Bank Ltd (SIB),headquartered in Antigua.
SEC spokesman Kevin Callahan said that Stanford and his two co-defendants,James Davis,SIBs chief financial officer,and Laura Pendergest-Holt,chief investment officer of a Stanford affiliate,had surrendered their passports in keeping with a judges order.
On Thursday the FBI tracked Stanford down in Fredericksburg,about 50 miles south of Washington,to serve him with court papers,but a day later Stanford was nowhere to be seen in the historic Virginia town.
The FBI,Internal Revenue Service,SEC and banking regulators have been investigating allegations of fraud and other possible illegal activity by Stanford’s companies for at least two years,the Washington Post reported in Saturday editions,citing people familiar with the matter.