Caribbean's Millennium Bank is like Stanford: report

NEW YORK Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:51pm EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Millennium Bank, a Caribbean-based institution, shares some attributes with Stanford International Bank, whose owner, Texas billionaire Allen Stanford, has been charged with fraud for offering high yields on certificates of deposit, Business Week wrote on its website on Tuesday.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint Tuesday accusing Stanford and two other top executives at Antigua-based Stanford International Bank, of fraudulently selling $8 billion in high-yield certificates of deposit "by promising high return rates that exceed those available" at other banks."

Millennium, based in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, offers five-year CDs with interest rates of 6.5 percent to 7.75 percent on deposits of $100,000 or more.

Millennium boasts on its website that it is "not affected by the global financial crisis caused by the subprime mortgage practices of large domestic banks."

Millennium also says on its website it is wholly-owned by United Trust of Switzerland S.A., although Business Week said regulators in Switzerland have not heard of United Trust.

Millennium did not return calls requesting comment and the U.S. SEC declined to comment.

On its site, Millennium explains it can offer high rates of return because "deposits in most countries are protected by a form of deposit insurance. Deposits in international private banks are not."

(Reporting by Phil Wahba; Editing by Andre Grenon)

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