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Stanford investor body accuses Antigua of aiding Ponzi scheme

By Ilaina Jonas

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Official Stanford Investors Committee and the court-appointed receiver of Allen Stanford's financial empire have sued Antigua and Barbuda, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and 23 former Stanford Financial Group Co executives, accusing them of assisting in the financier's $7 billion Ponzi scheme.

The committee is seeking at least $90 million of transfers to Antigua, according to the complaint filed on February 15 in U.S. Federal Court in Dallas. It also is seeking punitive damages. It accuses Antigua and Barbuda of shielding Stanford's activities in exchange for loans that were not repaid and real estate.

The suit accuses the twin-island nation of being a "'blood brother' to Stanford, and an integral component of Stanford's fraudulent enterprise", according to court documents.

Stanford, 62, is appealing his March 2012 conviction and 110-year prison sentence over what prosecutors called a massive fraud centered on the sale of bogus certificates of deposit by his Antigua-based Stanford International Bank.

"Stanford used Antigua as a regulatory haven from which to steal customer funds, and Antigua sustained its struggling economy with Stanford's ill-gotten largesse," the committee said in court documents.

The court-appointed receiver for Stanford International Bank filed a suit against the 23 former Stanford executives.

The cases are The Official Stanford Investors Committee v. Antigua and Barbuda, 3:13-cv-0760; The Official Stanford Investors Committee v. Bank of Antigua, 3:13-cv-0762; Janvey v. Alvarado, 3:13-cv-0775. The suits were filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas in Dallas.

Representatives from the embassy of Antigua and Barbuda, and Eastern Caribbean Central Bank could not be reached for comment on Monday evening.

(Reporting by Ilaina Jonas; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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