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Stanford surrenders in US to face criminal charges

Allen Stanford (pictured), the billionaire chairman of the family-owned Stanford Financial Group, turned himself in yesterday to the US FBI after criminal charges were filed against him. Stanford has been accused of a massive ongoing fraud, in which he and two fellow executives sold $8 billion in high-yield certificates of deposit promising "improbable" high returns.

He is expected to appear in court today, although the location is unclear. Dick DeGuerin, Stanford's Lawyer, told Reuters: "I don't know where he is going to appear in the morning and the FBI doesn't know where he is going to appear in the morning."

The US Securities and Exchange Commission made the allegations against the 59-year-old sports patron in February, leading to his companies being seized by the government and the freezing of his assets. He asserted in April that he had not headed a Ponzi scheme and that his companies were, in fact, well run.

Stanford accumulated his own wealth in Houston during the 1980s, buying depressed real estate, before inheriting the Stanford Financial Group, the insurance and real-estate company founded by his grandfather, Lodis B Stanford. Sir Allen once credited his business ambitions to his grandfather who gave him "an unwavering desire to build a business that is second to none."

The SFG managed and advised $50 billion worth of assets and grew under Allen Stanford into a global network of independent financial services. Stanford is well known for his love of cricket and the Caribbean, where he was knighted in 2006, and his billionaire lifestyle.

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