Billionaire con man set for trial

THE long-awaited trial of Allen Stanford, who is accused of swindling thousands of investors out of more than $7bn through an elaborate Ponzi scheme, will start next month.

A judge in Texas ruled that Mr Stanford, 61, had faked amnesia to try to avoid trial. His defence lawyers claimed he had suffered memory loss after a fellow prisoner injured him in 2009.

Assistant US Attorney Gregg Costa had told the judge: "He wants to con his way out of this case the same way he conned investors for more than 20 years. Don't let him do it."

Prison doctors found he had "no mental illness which would interfere with his ability to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him or to assist properly in his defence," according to a report for the judge.

Judge David Hittner said: "I have found a preponderance of the evidence that Stanford is competent to stand trial."

He had been declared incompetent to stand trial in January due to an addiction to an anti-anxiety drug. He spent more than eight months at a prison hospital being treated for his addiction and evaluated.

Mr Stanford, who ran the Antigua-based Stanford Financial Group, was charged with fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. He pleaded not guilty.


Woman’s bold claim about 1kg MDMA worth $360k on street

premium_icon Woman’s bold claim about 1kg MDMA worth $360k on street

Police allege she was ‘injecting’ during the bust but her lawyer says she was only...

Family's incredible spirit inspires NRL legend into action

premium_icon Family's incredible spirit inspires NRL legend into action

Moranbah family has the kind of rough trot you don't wish on anyone

New-look Hawks ready to roll against old footy foes

premium_icon New-look Hawks ready to roll against old footy foes

Two of the pre-eminent sides of the past decade will face off in Round 1 of the...