Solicitors request postponing trial of jailed financier for ‘medical’ reasons
07 January 2011
The lawyers of a financier suspected of defrauding clients of £4.25 billion have requested a two year delay in the start of his court case, due to begin on the 24th January.
Sir Allen Stanford's lawyers, Ali Fazel and Robert Scardino, made the request, citing health issues.
"Mr Stanford's mental, emotional and physical health is drastically deteriorating,'' Fazel said yesterday in federal court papers seeking Stanford's release.
The Texan billionaire, who is charged with 21 counts of fraud relating to a $7 billion Ponzi scheme allegedly run through his Antiguan bank, has been repeatedly denied bail by U.S. District Judge David Hittner due to fears that he is a flight risk.
Stanford has been heavily medicated since September 2009 following an attack by a fellow inmate that left him with numerous broken facial bones, and Fazel said that "these medications have left Mr Stanford in an unfocused and numbed state of mind, caused tremors of the limbs, diminished range of facial expression and slowness of speech" and have "created a condition where the accused can no longer assist counsel or invoke basic constitutional rights."
Fazel and his partner, Robert Scardino, both of Houston, were appointed Stanford's lawyers in October after the financier lost a lawsuit over access to $100 million in legal defence insurance funds.
Sir Allen Stanford was in the news as recently as 20th December 2010 following the publication of a US cable by Wikileaks, dated 3rd May 2006, in which American Ambassador Mary E. Kramer described how Stanford had "made significant investments in offshore finance, aviation and property development in Antigua" and how "his companies are rumoured to engage in bribery, money laundering and political manipulation."
Stanford has been in jail since June 2009, after he was charged with the huge fraud. It is thought that he used Ponzi-style schemes similar to those of notorious Wall Street fraudster, Bernard Madoff.