US court finds 'mentally impaired' Stanford 'incompetent' to face trial in fraud case

Houston, Jan 27(ANI): The upcoming trial of former Texas billionaire Allen Stanford, accused of fleecing investors out of seven billion dollars in a pyramid scheme, has been delayed after a federal judge declared that he is mentally incompetent to go forward with his case.

According to the BBC, Stanford's trial was set to begin on January 24, but U.S. District Judge David Hittner agreed to delay its start until the financier can be treated for several medical problems that are affecting his competency.

"The court finds Stanford is incompetent to stand trial at this time based on his apparent impaired ability to rationally assist his attorneys in preparing his defense," Judge Hittner wrote in his ruling in Houston, Texas.

"The court's finding that Stanford is incompetent, however, does not alter the court's finding that Stanford is a flight risk and that no combination of conditions of pretrial release can reasonably assure his appearance at trial," he added.

Stanford and three ex-executives of his now-defunct Houston-based Stanford Financial Group are accused of orchestrating a colossal pyramid scheme in 2009 by advising clients from 113 countries to invest over seven billion dollars in certificates of deposit at the Stanford International Bank on the island of Antigua, promising huge returns.

However, Stanford's attorneys have denied the allegations against him, saying he ran a legitimate business and didn't misuse bank funds to pay for a lavish lifestyle.

The 60-year-old has been in custody since June 2009, when he surrendered to the US authorities after a warrant was issued for his arrest. (ANI)

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