CaribWorldNews, HOUSTON, TX, Fri. June 26, 2009: Sir Allen Stanford was yesterday remanded to jail despite his plea of innocence in a Houston court.
A judge set bail at US$500,000 ahead of the businessman`s August 25th trial but Stanford must remain in custody pending a government appeal.
The Texas-born American, turned naturalized Antigua citizen, faces 21 charges related to an alleged US$7 billion ponzi fraud. Yesterday he pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud, conspiracy and obstruction.
The flamboyant financier, who was knighted in 2006 based on a recommendation by the Antigua government, arrived at the courthouse Thursday wearing handcuffs and leg chain. He had beeen detained for a week at a detention centre since handing himself in to FBI agents last Friday.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy had approved a plan for Stanford to pay $500,000, including a $100,000 cash deposit, that would have allowed him to walk free until his trial begins in August. Professional golfer, Vijay Singh, was one of three people who offered to sign for a portion of the financier’s bail, his attorney said in court in Houston on Thursday, according to CNBC’s Scott Cohn.
But prosecutors argued that Stanford has the means and the incentives to flee.
Judge Stacy then stayed the issuance of Stanford’s bond. Stanford could face life in prison if found guilty.
Meanwhile, in Antigua and Barbuda, Leroy King, the fired regulator of the island`s financial commission, was reportedly arrested Thursday.
His arrest comes a week after he was indicted for taking bribes from Sir Allen to cover up the alleged fraud. King may be extradited to the U.S. to face charges.
In addition to Stanford, three other executives of the Stanford Financial Group, Laura Pendergest-Holt, Gilberto Lopez and Mark Kuhrt, entered not guilty pleas Thursday.