UK Freezes $100 Million in Stanford-Linked Assets
Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) froze over $100 million of assets linked to Allen Stanford, the US financier accused of a massive fraud.
The SFO's action is in response to a request from the US Department of Justice, it said in a statement. The restraining order was received on April 7 but the SFO could only reveal it today, because of developments in the Stanford case.
"These funds were allegedly acquired in connection with a suspected $7 billion investment fraud scheme operated by Stanford," the SFO's statement said.
Stanford and other three executives of his Stanford Financial Group were accused earlier this month of coordinating a massive fraud by misusing most of the $7 billion invested by customers in certificates of deposit from the Stanford International Bank in Antigua.
Stanford, who has denied any wrongdoing, is detained and a judge will decide on his release on bail Tuesday.
"I am delighted that the SFO has been able to secure a freezing order of this magnitude and within five hours of it being requested," SFO director Richard Alderman said in a statement.
"I am determined that supporting our US counterparts in this way becomes a routine example of cross-border cooperation," Alderman added.
The funds are believed to be held at "certain London financial institutions," the SFO said without elaborating.
Meanwhile a judge in the US on Tuesday revoked bond for Stanford.
U.S. District Judge David Hittner approved a request by prosecutors to overturn a magistrate judge's decision to allow Stanford freed on $500,000 bond pending his trial.
Prosecutors argue that Stanford's international ties make him a serious flight risk. Stanford holds dual U.S. and Antiguan citizenship, has an international network of wealthy acquaintances who would help him and possibly access to vast wealth hidden around the world.
But Dick DeGuerin, Stanford's attorney, says his client is penniless, has never tried to flee and wants to fight the charges against him.