Stanford's Montreal office shut down

Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:00pm EST
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Montreal office of Stanford International Bank Ltd has been shut down by a financial receiver, a spokesman for Canada's financial regulator said on Tuesday.

"I can confirm that the receiver has closed the bank's rep office in Montreal," said Rod Giles, spokesman for the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI).

The news came a day after OSFI announced the regulator would allow the office to remain open on the condition that it limit its activities to helping clients recover their assets.

Allen Stanford, the billionaire Texan at the head of Stanford International Bank, and two colleagues have been charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with running an $8 billion fraud involving high-yield certificates of deposits.

There have been no allegations or charges in connection with the Montreal operations. The bank is not licensed to carry out any banking transactions in the country but can promote its products.

Regulators have seized Stanford's banks and companies in Antigua.

Canadian media reported that Montreal clients had found a handwritten note taped to the door of the Stanford bank office, referring them to British-based financial receiver Vantis Business Recovery Services.

The Globe and Mail newspaper reported that Vantis has been hired by the Antigua Financial Services Regulatory Commission, which has jurisdiction over the Montreal offices of Stanford because the parent is based in Antigua.

Officials from Vantis were on the Montreal premises studying documents, according to an unnamed source cited by the paper.

(Reporting by Louise Egan; editing by Rob Wilson)