EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -New Jersey Nets forward Eduardo Najera withdrew his investments last year from a group of companies headed by Texas financier R. Allen Stanford and linked by the government to an alleged $8 billion fraud.
``It had nothing to do with all the problems that are going on now,'' Najera said Friday night before the Nets played the Washington Wizards. ``I mean, you can say that I am lucky. No one knew this thing was coming.''
The Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this week alleged that Stanford, two other executives and three of his companies were involved in an $8 billion fraud that lured investors with promises of improbable and unsubstantiated high returns on certificates of deposit and other investments.
Najera said that he made his initial investments with Stanford after a friend who sold him suits joined that firm. The native of Mexico changed financial advisers three years ago, went back to Stanford and eventually left for good last year.
era Foundation for Latin Achievement and later signed him to a four-year endorsement deal that ended two or three years ago. Najera added some money from his foundation was invested with Stanford, but it also was withdrawn before the current crisis.
Najera said he initially left Stanford because his friend left the company. He went back because he was not satisfied with his new adviser and left again after finding a new financial adviser.
Najera said he was shocked when the news about Stanford came out. He re-examined his portfolio again and talked to his initial financial adviser.
``I couldn't believe it, but it's not like I did this (left) two weeks ago,'' said Najera, currently sidelined with an abdominal strain. ``It had nothing to do with that. I am just happy I did it.''
Najera said he was always concerned about Stanford's interests and ownership of Antiguan banks.
``It didn't scare me, but it was outside of the U.S. law, so in my brain it was there,'' he said.
Najera said players are now spending more time talking about their investments.
``Being professional athletes, now that we are successful and we're making a lot of money, we all talk about the crisis, we all talk about the market, we all talk about the banking problems and we try to recommend to each other our financial advisers, but obviously you have to go with the person you feel comfortable with.
don't think the Stanford thing affect (anybody). Nobody made any comments,'' Najera added. ``I am the one who used to have the money there. I'm just happy I didn't have friends transfer money there. That would have been awful. They would have blamed me.''

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