(Antigua Sun) – The former boss of the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) Leroy King has been committed for extradition to the Unites States (US) to face criminal charges.
Chief Magistrate Ivan Walters rendered his decision on Monday in the St John’s Magistrates’ Court after having reviewed submissions made earlier by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Anthony Armstrong, who is acting on behalf of the US and King’s attorney Dane Hamilton QC.
King, who had a bandage to his right eye as a result of surgery three days ago, maintained his composure and kept a straight face after the decision was announced and as he sat in the accused’s box.
Magistrate Walters who had intended to remand King to Her Majesty’s Prison to await the final decision on his extradition from the Minister of External Affairs, Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, later changed his mind after Hamilton made application for bail, highlighting King’s medical condition.
Hamilton’s application was in accordance with section 11 subsections seven and nine of the Extradition Treaty Act. In section nine of the act it states that if the court commits (an individual) bail can be considered if it is appropriate to do so.
According to Hamilton, King underwent surgery to his right eye for the reattachment of the retina. Hamilton said that Dr Ian Walwyn, an ophthalmologist, thought that the condition to King’s eye would have resulted in blindness in that eye.
The surgery was done last Friday (23 April) and according to Hamilton, the doctor has indicated that full recovery in needed and can only be obtained over a protracted period.
Hamilton said that doctors have advised that King requires a safe and secure environment to convalesce. The medical professionals also placed restrictions on his (King’s) physical activities. The attorney said that Dr Walwyn will administer additional treatment to King on a regular basis.
“These are the exceptional circumstances. He (King) has adhered to the previous bail conditions and there is no reason to believe he would abscond.
“I have spoken to the DPP and he told me that he would have no objections to bail,” Hamilton said. He asked the court to use its discretion in granting King bail.
Chief Magistrate Walters before granting bail said that King has abided with the terms of his previous bail condition, which goes in his favour.
However, he noted that King’s co-accused, including R. Allen Stanford are in prison in the US awaiting trial, some also with medical conditions.
The magistrate said that he was aware of the prison situation here-in terms of being overcrowded and ruled that this will impede King having a speedy recovery.
“I will grant him bail, but I will raise the amount,” Walters said.
King’s previous bail sum of $500,000 was increased by $100,000 and the cash deposit of $100,000 was amended to an additional $10,000. The other stringent conditions of the bail remain the same, in that King must remain at his Dickenson Bay home every day. He is only to leave in the company of any of his two sureties if he is seeking medical treatment, or to sign in daily between 6 am and 6 pm at the St John’s Police Station, or to visit his attorneys or family members. The court is in possession of King’s travel documents.
King has been charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to ignore wrongs in relation to the alleged Allen Stanford $8 billion Ponzi scheme.
The SEC is alleging in its 20 complaints that King facilitated the Ponzi scheme by making sure that the department he previously headed conducted sham audits and examinations of Stanford International Bank Limited’s (SIBL) books and records. They also allege that in exchange for bribes paid to him over a number of years, King made sure that the FSRC did not examine SIBL’s investment portfolio. He is facing ten counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, seven counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to obstruct the SEC, and conspiracy to launder illegal proceeds.
King is also accused of providing Stanford with access to the FSRC’s confidential regulatory files on him, including the SEC’s requests for information from FSRC in its investigation.