LONDON (AFP) - US diplomats were concerned that companies run by cricket mogul Allen Stanford were corrupt several years before allegations of his massive Ponzi scheme emerged, US cables showed Tuesday. A diplomatic dispatch from the US embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados, dated May 3, 2006, revealed that American officials were so worried that they avoided contacting Stanford or being photographed with him. His companies are rumoured to engage in bribery, money laundering, and political manipulation, read the dispatch, classified confidential by US Ambassador Mary Kramer and revealed in Britains Guardian newspaper. The correspondence, part of a huge trove of US diplomatic cables leaked to whistleblower website WikiLeaks, was written after a breakfast meeting in Barbados, the first meeting between Stanford and the US ambassador. It made clear that, despite Stanfords huge profile in the Caribbean where he invested millions of dollars before his empire collapsed, embassy staff were on orders to steer clear of him. Embassy officers do not reach out to Stanford because of the allegations of bribery and money laundering, said the cable. The ambassador managed to stay out of any one-on-one photos with Stanford during the breakfast. But it was not until several years after the cable was sent that Stanfords alleged multi-billion-dollar fraud came to light when the US Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint against him and some of his companies in February, 2009. Senior SEC officials have since apologised for failing to detect the massive fraud despite multiple warnings. The case has now produced a slew of charges, including against Stanford himself. The flamboyant Texan has pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of fraud, money laundering and obstruction. He faces up to 375 years in jail if convicted. His alleged scheme involved the sale of Certificates of Deposit (CDs) offering unheard-of returns. Stanford is accused of raking in deposits from eager clients and using money from new customers to pay the promised interest rates. By the end of 2008, his Stanford International Bank had sold more than 7.2 billion dollars worth of CDs. A self-described maverick, Stanford hit international sports headlines by creating the eponymous Stanford Super Series Twenty20 cricket competition. In Antigua he was a larger-than-life figure, the islands largest employer, and the recipient of a 2006 knighthood. But after the allegations against him surfaced, much of his support dwindled.