Judge delays financier Stanford's release on bond

Stanford, who is being held in the Montgomery County Jail in nearby Conroe, was brought back to the federal courthouse in Houston on Friday to await a decision on his bond. He wore a gray business suit with his leg irons and handcuffs instead of the orange prison jumpsuit he wore Thursday.

Stanford pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges filed last week in a 21-count indictment.

Stanford Financial Group executives Laura Pendergest-Holt, Gilberto Lopez and Mark Kuhrt, also entered not guilty pleas.

Jury selection in the trial of Stanford and the others was set for Aug. 25 but will likely be delayed.

Also indicted is Leroy King, the former chief executive officer of Antigua's Financial Services Regulatory Commission. King is free on bond after being arrested Thursday. His attorney said Friday he is under house arrest as the Caribbean island processes a request for his extradition to the United States.

King is accused of accepting more than $100,000 in bribes to turn a blind eye to irregularities.

Stanford and his co-defendants are charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail, wire and securities fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Stanford, Pendergest-Holt and King are also charged with conspiring to obstruct a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and obstruction of an SEC investigation.

Investigators say even as Stanford claimed healthy returns for those investors, he was secretly diverting more than $1.6 billion in personal loans to himself.

The indictment also says Stanford and the other executives misrepresented the Antigua island bank's financial condition, its investment strategy and how it was regulated.

The SEC filed a lawsuit in February accusing Stanford and his top executives of committing crimes similar to those in the indictment.

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