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Jury selection for Allen Stanford trial to begin

Long-delayed case is set to start in Houston, Texas, with financier accused of orchestrating £4.6bn fraud

Jury selection for the trial of the Texan financier Allen Stanford will begin on Monday.

Stanford, a one time cricket mogul and unofficial knight of Antigua is, according to the US government, the author of one of the biggest Ponzi schemes of all time.

The long-delayed case is set to start in Houston, Texas, with Stanford accused of orchestrating a .2bn (£4.6bn) fraud in order to fund a lavish lifestyle of yachts, a private island, jets and his own cricket team.

Stanford, the largest private landowner in Antigua, and was known as “Sir Allen” after being knighted by the island’s former prime minister.

The US justice system will also be in the dock. Stanford has been in prison since he was arrested on grounds that he was at risk of fleeing in 2009.

A series of lawyers have delayed the case by arguing that their client is incapable of standing trial as a result of a prison beating he received in 2009.

An altercation with another prisoner over a telephone call left him unable to recall his own name, according to reports filed in court. After the attack, he was prescribed powerful anti-anxiety medicine that doctors claimed contributed to “extensive retrograde amnesia”.

In court papers, Stanford’s lawyers claimed family members had to “educate” him about his previous life and said he was “completely amnestic to his life prior to the assault”.

As well as his private life, prosecutors said Stanford told prison doctors that he had forgotten “details of his business and banking operations”. Prosecutors suggested he was faking, arguing that his alleged condition was incredibly rare and there was no evidence of a brain injury that would prevent him standing trial. Last December, Judge David Hittner said the trial should proceed.

Stanford was once one of the most influential men in cricket, and set up a series of m tournaments in 2008. He announced his deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board by landing a black helicopter at Lord’s and was photographed with England cricket stars standing by a huge, clear box apparently full of money. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds