Texan cricket tycoon Stanford's attempt to leave US aborted

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Washington, Feb.19 (ANI): Texan cricket tycoon Sir Allen Stanford bid to escape from the United States to avoid possible arrest for fraud charges has been aborted.

According to The Telegraph, Stanford, who is facing multi-billion pound fraud charges in the United States, was seeking to escape in a private jet to Antigua in the West Indies.

There is panic among residents in Antigua with more than 600 people launching a run on one of the banks that Stanford controls.he tycoon was reportedly blocked from leaving the US after the private jet company refused to accept his credit card.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission, which had alleged a 5.6 billion pound fraud against him, said it had no information about the whereabouts of the brash, 58-year-old financier and US marshals have been unable to serve him with court orders.

The alleged fraud centres on "false promises" of improbably high interest rates made through the sale of certificates of deposit from his Antiguan affiliate, Stanford International Bank Ltd (SIB).

In London, the Serious Fraud Office said it was "monitoring" developments but has yet to launch a full investigation.

It is understood to be liaising with the SEC after it emerged that a small accountancy firm based in north London audited Sir Allen's bank, which claimed to control more than 35 billion pounds in assets.

An SFO spokesman said: "We are aware of the reported links through auditing activities with our jurisdiction in the UK. It is our intention to touch base and to make an assessment of the practice which appears to be involved."

In the twin-island state of Antigua and Barbuda, where Sir Allen is the biggest private employer, Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer said the charges against him could have "catastrophic" consequences but urged the public not to panic.

Stanford lived for more than 20 years on the reef-girded island, only 9 miles (14 km) wide and 12 miles (19 km) long and with a population of 70,000. He owns the country's largest newspaper and is the first American to receive a knighthood from its government. (ANI)

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