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Texan financier Stanford found guilty of setting up $7bn Ponzi scheme


March 7, 2012 - London

Texan financier Allen Stanford who vowed to pour millions of pounds into English cricket, has been found guilty by a US court of orchestrating a seven billion dollar Ponzi scheme.

A Houston Court found Stanford guilty of 13 of the 14 charges he faced, after the jury told a US district judge they could not reach a unanimous verdict on all counts.

The verdict marks a dramatic fall from grace for Stanford, who was estimated to be worth over two million dollars in 2008, The Telegraph reports.

US prosecutors had earlier claimed that Stanford orchestrated a scheme that promised investors high returns if they bought certificates of deposit from Stanford International Bank (SIB) and added that he used two billion dollars of it to fund his extravagant lifestyle.

Stanford, who had denied the charges, told his family members in court: "It's OK," as the verdict was being read out.

The trial pitted Stanford against James Davis, his former university room-mate and chief financial officer of Stanford Financial Group.

"Mr Davis provided jurors with a clear road map and his testimony was devastating," a US attorney specialising in financial crime, Andrew Stoltmann, said.

US efforts to prosecute Stanford, who was charged in 2009, had suffered a setback when the financier was badly beaten up by a fellow prisoner at a detention facility in Texas.

The trial, which began in late January, was closely followed by the over 20,000 people who invested money with SIB.

The investors, who were drawn largely drawn from the Caribbean, Latin America and the US, have not seen any of their money returned.

"We do expect an appeal," Stanford's Attorney Ali Fazel, said, adding he expects sentencing to take place in several months.

ANI

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