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Stanford on drug detox programme

Former Texas billionaire and cricket mogul Allen Stanford, awaiting trial on charges he bilked investors out of seven billion US dollars in a pyramid scheme, has been ordered by a judge to undergo detox for a drug addiction that has helped render him incompetent to stand trial.

US District Judge David Hittner's ruling comes after a hearing earlier this month in which three psychiatrists testified Stanford is not competent to stand trial.

They said his addiction to an anti-anxiety medication as well as a brain injury he suffered in a September 2009 jail fight and a major depressive order he is suffering have left him unable to think clearly or help his legal representatives prepare a defence.

Mr Hittner ordered that Stanford be sent to a hospital in the US Bureau of Prisons where he can be treated for his drug addiction as well as receive additional psychiatric and neurological testing and ultimately undergo another competency exam.

Mr Hittner suggested a facility in North Carolina.

Stanford's lawyer had wanted the financier to go through his detox at a private medical facility in Houston and then be allowed to continue his recovery at a local apartment Stanford's family would pay for.

But prosecutors, who had suggested the financier might be faking mental illness as a way to get out of jail pending his trial, had said Stanford should be treated within the US federal prison system.

Stanford has been jailed without bond since his June 2009 indictment, deemed a flight risk by Mr Hittner, who has denied several requests by the financier to be freed.

Stanford's trial had been set to begin this week. Mr Hittner has said he will set a new trial date after he receives more information about Stanford's mental health.

It is unclear how long Stanford will be in treatment. The psychiatrists had testified the detox process could take two months or longer.

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