Wednesday, February 18, 2009

FBI Not Involved in Stanford Financial Raid

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Much remains unclear about Stanford Financial, but we can clear up this detail.

The "feds" but not the FBI were involved in an operation Tuesday morning to secure documents and interview employees at Stanford's office in the Crescent Center in East Memphis. Whether it was a "raid" or something less dramatic is a matter of opinion.

FBI spokesman C. M. Sturgis said the operation was conducted by a federal team including United States marshals and employees of the Securities Exchange Commission. News organizations, including the Flyer, originally said the FBI was involved.

The problem was partly due to inability to reach FBI personnel in Memphis Tuesday, when numerous messages seeking comment and clarification from Sturgis, his supervisor, and special agent in charge My Harrison went unanswered until Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. A statement from the U.S. Marshal's office Tuesday afternoon did not say whether or not the FBI was involved. The statement referred to the operation as involving "the execution of court orders."

The Memphis "execution" apparently occurred at about the same time the feds visited Stanford offices in Houston. The Wall Street Journal described it Wednesday as follows: "The Houston office was the scene of a raid Tuesday morning by U.S. marshals and agents led by the SEC. The federal team arrived in a fleet of Chevy Suburbans and GMC pickups with tinted windows. Agents secured all entrances and exits to two Stanford buildings, and some agents were posted to nearby rooftops."

A person who works in the Crescent Center and saw the feds said some Stanford employees left the building while others remained behind and were interviewed in their offices. Employees were said to be shocked.

--John Branston

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