Stanford had been staying with his girlfriend in Fredericksburg, about 80km south of Washington, when FBI agents arrived on Thursday, DeGuerin said.

Stanford walked outside and spoke to the agents, saying that if they had a warrant they should arrest him and that he was going to hand himself in on his return to Houston if they didn't.

The justice department and FBI declined to comment

The golf and cricket promoter was handed civil charges earlier this year by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the alleged fraudulent sale of $8bn in certificates of deposit with unusually high returns.