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FBI serves papers on Stanford

TEXAS financier R. Allen Stanford was tracked down yesterday in Virginia, where FBI agents served him with legal papers in a multibillion-dollar fraud case.

FBI agents, acting at the request of the Securities and Exchange Commission, served Stanford court orders and other documents, the FBI and the SEC said.

Stanford is not under arrest and is not in custody.

In a civil complaint on Tuesday, the SEC accused Stanford, two other executives and three of his companies with committing an US$8-billion fraud that lured investors with promises of improbable and unsubstantiated high returns on certificates of deposit and other investments. It's not clear how much of the US$8 billion was lost and how much investors might recover.

The SEC only found Stanford after getting help from the FBI.

A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the billionaire was served yesterday afternoon by an agent who had staked out a location in Fredericksburg.

At about 1:45pm, the agent spotted Stanford in a car driven by Stanford's girlfriend. The agent spoke to Stanford, who was riding in the passenger side, the official said. The agent handed Stanford the SEC complaint, a federal court order freezing Stanford's assets and another order naming a receiver.

Passport surrender

Stanford told the agent he understood and would arrange to surrender his passport, the official said.

Stanford has not been charged with any crime although federal agents continue to investigate the case.

The fallout from the suspected fraud case is already rattling around the global financial system.

Venezuela yesterday seized a failed bank controlled by Stanford after a run on deposits there, while clients were prevented from withdrawing their money from Stanford International Bank and its affiliates in a half-dozen other countries.

Stanford's father, James, 81, told The Associated Press yesterday that he hopes the allegations aren't true. "I have no earthly knowledge of it," said the elder Stanford, listed as chairman emeritus and a director for Stanford Financial Group. "I would be totally surprised if there would be truth to it. And disappointed, heartbroken."


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