England and Windies suspend Stanford negotiations

Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:44pm GMT

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ST JOHN'S (Reuters) - The England and West Indies cricket boards suspended sponsorship negotiations with financier Allen Stanford following fraud allegations against him on Tuesday.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange commission charged Stanford and three of his companies with alleged fraud involving a multi-billion dollar investment scheme.

"The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) have suspended negotiations with Sir Allen Stanford and his financial corporation concerning a new sponsorship deal," the ECB said in a statement.

Stanford came to prominence in the cricket world following his private Twenty20 competition in the Caribbean and, in particular, the $20 million (14 million pound) game in November between England and his own team made up of West Indian players.

ECB chairman Giles Clarke said his organisation was now weighing up the possibility of utilising get-out clauses in its agreement with Stanford.

"Clearly that is a matter we would consider," he told reporters before suggesting that the proposed quadrangular Twenty20 series in England in May was now unlikely to happen.

"We will clearly consider that situation but we have suspended negotiations so there is a strong possibility it will not take place," he said.

Clarke said he understood that all monies due to have been paid out from the $20 million game had been distributed.

"All of the obligations with regard to the game that was played have been met and all the various people who were expected to do various things for that match have received their remuneration as far as we are aware," Clarke said.

Stanford, who has denied any wrongdoing, also has endorsement relationships with golfer Vijay Singh and England footballer Michael Owen as well as involvement in golf and polo.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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