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Antigua set to OK Stanford land seizure

ST. JOHN'S, Antigua -- Antigua and Barbuda's Senate was expected to approve on Friday a government move to seize land owned by Texas billionaire Allen Stanford, accused in an US$8 billion securities fraud.

The Caribbean nation is rushing to take over more than 250 acres of Stanford property before a U.S. court-appointed receiver seizes it.

“We have to give ourselves a bargaining chip, so when the receivers come they have to deal with the government of Antigua and Barbuda,” Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer told the House of Representatives after it approved the land takeover measure on Thursday. Opposition lawmakers opposed the government move.

Stanford is the biggest private investor and employer on the twin-island state,

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission civil fraud case against Stanford, a 58-year-old financier and sports tycoon, has rocked Antigua and Barbuda, where he held extensive businesses and properties.

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