Swiss Return Remaining $150 Mn Seized Over Stanford Scam to US

Euro banknotes are piled up on a table in the foreign exchange department of UBS bank in Zurich, Switzerland, in this 2001 file photo. (AP Photo/Keystone, Martin Ruetschi, File)

GENEVA (AFP) — Swiss authorities said Monday that they were returning to the United States the remaining $150 million linked to a vast financial swindle by Texas financier Allan Stanford, to help compensate his victims.

In total, Switzerland in 2009 froze some $200 million in assets in accounts linked to the flamboyant money man and cricket mogul, in connection with a U.S. investigation into a massive $7 billion Ponzi scheme.

He was sentenced in June 2012 to 110 years in prison over the scheme, which bilked some 30,000 investors from more than 110 countries through bogus investments with Stanford International Bank between 2001 and 2008.

The Swiss ministry of justice (OFJ) said in a statement that since his conviction and a U.S. confiscation order had taken effect, it was possible to return the full amount to the U.S.

An appeal filed against the decision to give back the money was rejected by Switzerland’s Supreme Court in October, it added.

“By the end of December, OFJ will return the $150 million remaining in favor of the victims,” the ministry said, adding that it had already returned around $50 million.

Stanford’s case marked one of the biggest scams in the U.S., after the $65-billion pyramid scheme that landed Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff with a 150-year sentence in 2009.

© Agence France-Presse

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