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Antigua paves way forex-regulator's extradition

Published:Wednesday | April 28, 2010 | 12:00 AM

An Antiguan judge on Monday paved the way for extradition to the United States of a former financial regulator indicted in an alleged US$7 billion swindle by jailed Texas financier R. Allen Stanford.

Lawyers for the Caribbean nation's former top regulator, Leroy King, are expected to quickly file a written challenge - called a writ of habeas corpus - to the committal ruling by Chief Magistrate Ivan Walters.

As a result, the extradition process for King is expected to be tied up for several more months. It had been postponed last year after defence lawyers requested more time to prepare.

King, who remains under house arrest, declined to speak to reporters.

He was fired as Antigua's top financial regulator after being accused of accepting bribes to turn a blind eye to irregularities in Stanford's financial empire. He also allegedly wrote false and misleading letters to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

US prosecutors allege Stanford and other executives of the now defunct Houston-based Stanford Financial Group orchestrated a massive Ponzi scheme by advising clients to invest more than $7 billion in certificates of deposit from the Stanford International Bank in Antigua.

In a court filing last year, James M. Davis, Stanford's former finance chief, alleged his ex-boss secured King's loyalty in a "blood oath" brotherhood ceremony. Davis made the comments as part of a plea deal he made with the US Justice Department.

King had led Antigua's Financial Services Regulatory Commission.

Stanford and three executives have pleaded not guilty to various charges, including money laundering and wire and mail fraud, in a 21-count indictment. Stanford has been jailed since being indicted last June while the three executives are free on bond.

- AP