Los Angeles: Financier and cricket mogul Allen Stanford is unfit to stand trial on charges of running a seven-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme and needs treatment for a drug addiction, a US judge ruled Wednesday.
“The court finds Stanford is incompetent to stand trial at this time based on his apparent impaired ability to rationally assist his attorneys in preparing his defense,” US District Judge David Hittner wrote in his ruling in Houston, Texas.
“The court’s finding that Stanford is incompetent, however, does not alter the court’s finding that Stanford is a flight risk.”
Psychiatrists who testified at a hearing earlier this month concluded that Stanford was suffering from bouts of delirium linked to his dependency on a strong anti-anxiety medication.
They also found he was incompetent to stand trial due to a brain injury he sustained during a 2009 jailhouse brawl.
Hittner denied a request by Stanford’s lawyers to release him on bond and place him in a private treatment facility for his addiction, ordering him instead to be committed to the custody of the attorney general to “undergo medical treatment for his current impaired mental capacity” and eventually take a competency exam.
The judge also recommended that the flamboyant Texan be sent to a medical facility within the US Bureau of Prisons, namely citing the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina, where Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff is currently serving a 150-year term for defrauding investors of $20 billion.
Stanford’s trial had been due to begin this week but was postponed indefinitely until he can be considered fit to prepare his defense for trial.
The financier has pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of fraud, money laundering and obstruction. He faces up to 375 years in jail if convicted.
A self-described “maverick,” Stanford hit international sports headlines by creating the eponymous Stanford Super Series Twenty20 cricket competition.
The USD 20-million winner-take-all match appalled many in the cricket world by challenging the sacrosanct traditional cricket establishment.
In Antigua, he was a larger-than-life figure, the island’s largest employer, and the recipient of a 2006 knighthood.
But after the allegations against him surfaced, much of his support dwindled and the England and Wales Cricket Board cut ties with him.