Officials close Stanford's Bank of Antigua

Feb. 21, 2009 at 2:32 PM
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SAINT JOHN'S, Antigua and Barbuda, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The Bank of Antigua has been seized by Caribbean regulators amid fraud accusations aimed at its owner, Allen Stanford, officials said.

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank said Friday it took control of the Bank of Antigua to prevent a run on it in the wake of civil fraud charges filed by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission against Stanford and his company, Stanford Financial Group, the BBC reported.

The central bank said it had detected "an unusual and substantial withdrawal of funds" from the Bank of Antigua and moved to maintain stability and reassure customers, the broadcaster said.

The SEC says Stanford, a billionaire investor and the biggest shareholder in the Bank of Antigua, perpetrated an $8 billion investment fraud. Stanford, however, was not in custody and had not been charged with any criminal violations.

The governments of Peru, Venezuela and Ecuador have suspended operations at banks owned by the group, the BBC said.

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