BCCI

 

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Bank of Credit and Commerce International ("Luoton ja kaupan pankki) eli toiselta nimeltään

Bank of Crooks and Crime International ("Konnien ja rikollisten pankki)

Joten bush tunsi pankin omakseen heti kun aloitti öljybisnekset ! Pankki oli Pakistanilaisessa ja Saudi-Arabialaisessa omistuksessa.

The most expensive battle in English legal history ended on Wednesday when a £850m lawsuit brought by liquidators of Bank of Credit and Commerce International (known by many as the Bank of Crooks and Crime International) against the Bank of England was withdrawn leaving a £100m legal bill in its wake

 

“Vuonna 1979 bushin ensimmäinen liikeyritys, Arbusto Energy, sai rahoitusta houstonilaiselta perheystävältä James Bathilta. Yhtenä monista investoijista Bath antoi bushille 50 000 dollaria vastineeksi 5 % osuudesta Arbustosta. Tuohon aikaan Bath oli Salem bin Ladenin, rikkaan saudiarabialaisen perheen pään ja Osama bin Ladenin veljen (yhden 17:sta) ainoa edustaja USA:ssa. On kauan epäilty, joskaan ei koskaan todistettu, että Arbusto-raha tuli suoraan Salem bin Ladenilta. Pian syyskuun iskujen jälkeen annetussa lausunnossa Valkoinen talo kiisti jyrkästi yhteyden, väittäen että Bath investoi omia rahojaan. Keskenään ristiriitaisissa lausunnoissa bush ensin kielsi edes tuntevansa Bathia; myöhemmin myönsi tämän osuuden Arbustosta ja kertoi olleensa tietoinen tämän saudiyhteyksistä. Bathilla oli melkoisen vahvat yhteydet niin bin Ladenin perheeseen kuin skandaalin ryvettämään Bank of Commerce and Credit Internationaliin. (BCCI), joka on sittemmin ryhtynyt rahoittamaan Osama bin Ladenia…

…Salem bin Ladenin kuoltua vuonna 1988 vaikutusvaltainen saudiarabialainen pankkiiri ja BCCI:n johtaja Khalid bin Mahfouz peri hänen intressinsä Houstonissa. Bath pyöritti liikeyritystä Mahfouzille Houstonissa ja liittyi yhteisyritykseen bin Mahfouzin ja Gaith Faraon kanssa, joista jälkimmäinen oli BCCI:n bulvaani Houston Main Bankissa.…

…Useiden uudestisyntymisten jälkeen Arbusto ilmaantui vuonna 1986 Harken Energy Corporationina. Harkenin ajauduttua vaikeuksiin vuotta myöhemmin, saudisheikki Abdullah Taha Bakhsh osti 17,5 prosentin osuuden yhtiöstä. Bakhsh oli Faraon liikekumppani Saudi-Arabiassa, ja hänen pankkiirinsa sattui olemaan bin Mahfouz. Vaikka bush kertoi Wall Street Journalille ettei hänellä ollut “aavistustakaan” BCCI:n sekaantumisesta Harkenin raha-asioihin, yhteysverkosto bushin ja BCCI:n välillä oli niin tiivis, että Journal päätti journalistiset tutkimuksensa asiasta vuonna 1991 lausuntoon: ‘Harkenin kanssa liiketoimia tekevien BCCI-yhteyksiä omaavien henkilöiden määrä - jotka kaikki ovat tulleet kuvaan mukaan sen jälkeen kun george w. bush tuli johtokuntaan - nostaa esiin kysymyksen, ovatko he vain peitelty yritys kaveerata presidentin pojan kanssa´’. Tai jopa itse presidentin. Vuonna 1992 FBI ryhtyi viimein tutkimaan Bathia hänen saudiyhteyksiensä vuoksi, syyttäen häntä rahan kanavoimisesta Reaganin ja bush vanhemman hallitusten ulkopolitiikkaan vaikuttamiseen. Ja mikä pahinta, bin Mahfouzin on todennäköisesti rahoittanut bin Ladenin terroristiverkostoa. USA Today-lehden mukaan bin Mahfouz ja muut saudit yrittivät siirtää vuonna 3 miljoonaa dollaria erilaisiin bin Ladenin peiteoperaatioihin Saudi-Arabiassa vuonna 1999. ABC News kertoi samana vuonna että Saudi-Arabian viranomaiset estivät bin Mahfouzia antamasta suoraan rahaa bin Ladenille”.

Pankki yhdisti Bushit, Osaman ja Saddamin

Presidentti George W. Bushin väitteet Osama bin Ladenin yhteyksistä Irakin entiseen diktaattoriin Saddam Husseiniin on torjuttu perättöminä. Miehiä yhdisti kuitenkin sama pankki, pahamaineinen BCCI, jonka kanssa myös Bushin perhe aikanaan asioi.

Pakistanilainen pankkiiri Agha Hasan Abedi perusti vuonna 1972 Bank of Credit and Commerce Internationalin eli BCCI:n. Taustatukea antoi Arabiemiirikuntien liiton hallitsija sheikki Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan.

Pankin toimintaideana oli rahanpesu, ja se haali asiakkaikseen huume- ja asekauppiaita, korruptoituneita virkamiehiä, talousrikollisia, diktaattoreita ja terroristeja.

Presidentti Ronald Reaganin kaudella 1981-1989 Yhdysvaltain
keskustiedustelupalvelu CIA käytti BCCI:tä, muun muassa asetoimituksissa Irakin Saddamille, Osama bin Ladenin toiminnan tukemisessa Afganistanissa sekä laittomassa Iran-contra-operaatiossa, jossa autettiin Nicaraguan oikeistokapinallisia.

CIA kanavoi BCCI:n Pakistanin-konttoreiden kautta noin kaksi miljardia dollaria Yhdysvaltain tukea Osama bin Ladenin mujahideen-sisseille, jotka taistelivat Neuvostoliiton miehitystä vastaan Afganistanissa.

BCCI-operaatio antoi Osamalle oppitunnin pimeästä kansainvälisestä rahaliikenteestä. Sittemmin hän on hyödyntänyt oppia Yhdysvaltoja vastaan käymässään ”pyhässä sodassa”. Osaman rahaliikennettä hoitaa nyt Al-Taqwa-pankki, jonka osakkaina on kaksi hänen jälkeläistään. Toiminta keskittyy Nassaun veroparatiisiin sekä Sveitsiin.

Osaman kanssa samaan aikaan BCCI avusti myös Saddamia. Pankki kanavoi miljoonia Italian valtion omistaman Banca Nazionale di Lavoro -pankin (BNL) Yhdysvaltain Atlantassa toimivaan konttoriin, joka puolestaan myönsi salaa neljän miljardin dollarin lainat Irakille aseostoja varten.

Yhdysvaltain kongressin jäsen Henry Gonzalez järjesti 1992 kuulemisen BNL:stä. Hän siteerasi luottamuksellista CIA:n asiakirjaa, jonka mukaan turvallisuuspalvelu oli ollut pitkään tietoinen siitä, että BNL:n pääkonttori oli mukana sen Yhdysvaltain-haaran Irakille myöntämässä lainoituksessa.

BNL:n Irakille antamien lainojen 15 prosentin toimitusmakuista kilisi osuudet Irakin johtajien tileille BCCI:n Caymansaarten, Luxemburgin ja Sveitsin konttoreihin.

BNL osti palveluja Kissinger Associates -konsulttifirmalta, jonka perustaja, Yhdysvaltain entinen ulkoministeri Henry Kissinger, istui puolestaan BNL:n kansainvälisessä neuvonantajaryhmässä. Siihen kuului myös Brent Scowcroft,
josta tuli presidentti George Bush vanhemman turvallisuuspoliittinen neuvonantaja.

Saudeilla oli paljon valtaa BCCI:ssä. Yhdeksi pankin suurimmista osakkaista tuli edesmenneen kuningas Faisalin lanko, sheikki Kamal Adham, joka johti 1963-1979 Saudi-Arabian tiedustelupalvelua. Se teki yhteistyötä CIA:n kanssa, ja Bush vanhempi tunsi Adhamin toimittuaan CIA:n johtajana 1976-1977.

Saudi-Arabian suurimman pankin omistanut Khalid Salem bin Mahfouzin suku osti BCCI:n osakkeista 20-30 prosenttia ja sai edustajansa pankin hallitukseen.

CIA:n salainen muistio 1980-luvun puolivälistä arvioi, että BCCI:n pääosakkaat kuuluivat Lähi-idän valtaeliittiin, jota kiinnosti islamin asian edistäminen enemmän kuin voitto.

Bushin perheen yhteydet BCCI:hin ja Mahfouziin kulkivat teksasilaisen liikemiehen James R. Bathin kautta. Tämä hoiti saudijohdon sijoituksia Yhdysvalloissa ja rahoitti George W. Bushin Arbusto-öljy-yhtiötä 1979 ja 1980.

Bushin yhtiö, josta oli yrityskauppojen kautta tullut Harken Energy, ajautui vaikeuksiin 1987. Yhtiölle järjestyi Sveitsistä suurlaina, jonka seurauksena yhtiön hallitukseen valittiin sheikki Abdullah Taha Bakhsh. Tämän pankkiiri oli BCCI:n osakas bin Mahfouz.

Kun isä-Bush valittiin presidentiksi 1988, Harken-yhtiö sai uusiksi osakkaikseen Osaman isän Salem bin Ladenin ja bin Mahfouzin. Osamalla oli muita kiireitä: hän organisoi al-Qaidaa.

BCCI:n toiminta loppui 1991, mutta se oli 20-vuotisen taipaleensa aikana tehnyt pankkihistorian suurimman kaappauksen. Rikollista rahaa oli kertynyt 9,5-15 miljardia dollaria, josta suurin osa jäi teille tietymättömille.

Khalid bin Mahfouz perusti 1992 Kanaalisaarille Muwafaq-säätiön. Yhdysvaltain valtiovarainministeriö luonnehti sitä ”al-Qaidan peitejärjestöksi, joka saa rahaa rikkailta saudiliikemiehiltä”.

Kun BCCI:n skandaali alkoi paljastua 1980-luvun lopulla, Bush vanhemman hallitus yritti peitellä sitä parhaansa mukaan. Tietoa asioista löytyy kuitenkin lukuisista yhdysvaltalaisista ja ulkomaisista tutkimuksista.

Kun Yhdysvaltain kongressi on nyt ryhtynyt tutkimaan, missä määrin George W. Bushin Irakin sodalle esittämät perustelut olivat tosia, olisi sopiva hetki kaivaa esiin myös BCCI-Osama-Saddam-saudi-Bush-kytkennät.


* Artikkelin kirjoittaja, tutkiva toimittaja Lucy Komisar käsittelee samaa aihetta juuri ilmestyneessä kirjassa A Game as Old as Empire

 

Likainen raha pestäänkin rikkaissa maissa

Ja tässä lopussa on ulkomaankielisiä juttuja, en ole vielä niistä pääkohtia etsinyt, mutta siihen ne olen tallentanut.

Ehkä sinun ei niitä nyt kannata katsoa !

 

The most expensive battle in English legal history ended on Wednesday when a £850m lawsuit brought by liquidators of Bank of Credit and Commerce International (known by many as the Bank of Crooks and Crime International) against the Bank of England was withdrawn leaving a £100m legal bill in its wake.

Lawyers for Deloitte, BCCI's liquidator, said the action was being ended after one of the High Court's most senior judges ruled that it was “no longer in the best interests of the creditors for the litigation to continue”.

A US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations investigation headed by Senator John Kerry reported that: BCCI's unique criminal structure -- an elaborate corporate spider-web with BCCI's founder, Agha Hasan Abedi and his assistant, Swaleh Naqvi, in the middle -- was an essential component of its spectacular growth, and a guarantee of its eventual collapse. The structure was conceived by Abedi and managed by Naqvi for the specific purpose of evading regulation or control by governments. It functioned to frustrate the full understanding of BCCI's operations by anyone. Regardless of what might be shown in the missing material, the remainder is more than adequate to document BCCI's criminality, including fraud by BCCI and BCCI customers involving billions of dollars; money laundering in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the America; BCCI's bribery of officials in most of those locations; its support of terrorism, arms trafficking, and the sale of nuclear technologies; its management of prostitution; its commission and facilitation of income tax evasion, smuggling, and illegal immigration; its illicit purchases of banks and real estate; and a panoply of financial crimes limited only by the imagination of its officers and customers. In the words of former Senate investigator Jack Blum: The problem that we are all having in dealing with this bank is that . . . it had 3,000 criminal customers and every one of those 3,000 criminal customers is a page 1 story. So if you pick up an one of [BCCI's] accounts you could find financing from nuclear weapons, gun running, narcotics dealing, and you will find all manner and means of crime around the world in the records of this bank.
 

BCCI collapsed in 1991 owing £10bn. The misfeasance claim, which was brought against the Bank of England in 1993, had accused senior officials of acting in bad faith and with deliberate disregard for depositors' interests over the supervision of BCCI.

Wednesday's ruling, was made in private by the judge who heads the Chancery Division and is understood to have followed a decision two months ago by BCCI's English creditors' committee that the costly litigation was no longer in the interest of all creditors.

Mervyn King, the Bank of England governor who had refused to consider settling the case, said: “There has never been a shred of evidence to support these disgraceful allegations, and the case has collapsed as we always expected it would.”

“The foolish determination to pursue a hopeless case for so long has also led to a huge waste of creditors' and taxpayers' money, and I hope everyone concerned will take a close look at how and why such a very weak case took years to come to an end,” he continued. The Bank, the governor said, would be seeking “the largest possible compensation for its costs”.

The Bank's legal bill is understood to exceed £70m, while the liquidators' is put at about £38m. In the English legal system, a loser pays a winner's costs, which means the bill is likely to end up with the creditors, who range from local authority funds to small stallholders. The Bank has made clear that it would seek costs based on the highest possible assessment.

BCCI collapsed in 1991 when evidence of a massive fraud came to light after a decade of rumours about its dubious practices. At that stage, BCCI owed depositors and creditors more than £10bn, making it the world's biggest banking collapse.

BCCI was founded by a Pakistani national and became known as the Bank of Crooks and Crime International. At the time of its collapse, it was owned by the ruler of Gulf emirate Abu Dhabi and many in the Muslim world viewed it as a conspiracy destroy an international symbol of the Islamic world.

The Bank of England was subsequently criticised in a 1992 report into the scandal by Lord Bingham then Lord Justice Bingham who said it had not pursued “the truth about BCCI with the rigour which BCCI's market reputation justified”.

The bank has statutory immunity against negligence claims and the only option for the liquidators was a more ambitious claim of “misfeasance in public office”. Under this, they sought up to £850m in damages.

On Wednesday, Deloitte said that the BCCI liquidators said a further dividend payout to creditors, due in December, would be unaffected by the collapse of the case. This will bring the recovery to creditors of 81 per cent from 75 per cent at present, or just under $6bn (£3.4bn) - more than fourteen years after the collapse.

The largest case of organized crime in history

A Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the United States Senate in 1992, by Senator John Kerry and Senator Hank Brown said that BCCI created its elaborate corporate structure for the purpose of deceiving and defrauding those outside BCCI, within BCCI, BCCI's various entities were largely disregarded, and treated interchangably. As BCCI's liquidators concluded one year after the bank's closure in a report to the bank's creditors committee, "in a number of respects, the BCCI Group appears to have conducted its affairs as a single entity, witout clearly identifying which company or entity within the BCCI Group was responsible for any particular transaction."

1. BCCI CONSTITUTED INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CRIME ON A MASSIVE AND GLOBAL SCALE.

BCCI's unique criminal structure -- an elaborate corporate spider-web with BCCI's founder, Agha Hasan Abedi and his assistant, Swaleh Naqvi, in the middle -- was an essential component of its spectacular growth, and a guarantee of its eventual collapse. The structure was conceived by Abedi and managed by Naqvi for the specific purpose of evading regulation or control by governments. It functioned to frustrate the full understanding of BCCI's operations by anyone.

Unlike any ordinary bank, BCCI was from its earliest days made up of multiplying layers of entities, related to one another through an impenetrable series of holding companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, banks-within-banks, insider dealings and nominee relationships. By fracturing corporate structure, record keeping, regulatory review, and audits, the complex BCCI family of entities created by Abedi was able to evade ordinary legal restrictions on the movement of capital and goods as a matter of daily practice and routine. In creating BCCI as a vehicle fundamentally free of government control, Abedi developed in BCCI an ideal mechanism for facilitating illicit activity by others, including such activity by officials of many of the governments whose laws BCCI was breaking.

BCCI's criminality included fraud by BCCI and BCCI customers involving billions of dollars; money laundering in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas; BCCI's bribery of officials in most of those locations; support of terrorism, arms trafficking, and the sale of nuclear technologies; management of prostitution; the commission and facilitation of income tax evasion, smuggling, and illegal immigration; illicit purchases of banks and real estate; and a panoply of financial crimes limited only by the imagination of its officers and customers.

Among BCCI's principal mechanisms for committing crimes were its use of shell corporations and bank confidentiality and secrecy havens; layering of its corporate structure; its use of front-men and nominees, guarantees and buy-back arrangements; back-to-back financial documentation among BCCI controlled entities, kick-backs and bribes, the intimidation of witnesses, and the retention of well-placed insiders to discourage governmental action.

2. BCCI SYSTEMATICALLY BRIBED WORLD LEADERS AND POLITICAL FIGURES THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.

BCCI's systematically relied on relationships with, and as necessary, payments to, prominent political figures in most of the 73 countries in which BCCI operated. BCCI records and testimony from former BCCI officials together document BCCI's systematic securing of Central Bank deposits of Third World countries; its provision of favors to political figures; and its reliance on those figures to provide BCCI itself with favors in times of need.

These relationships were systematically turned to BCCI's use to generate cash needed to prop up its books. BCCI would obtain an important figure's agreement to give BCCI deposits from a country's Central Bank, exclusive handling of a country's use of U.S. commodity credits, preferential treatment on the processing of money coming in and out of the country where monetary controls were in place, the right to own a bank, secretly if necessary, in countries where foreign banks were not legal, or other questionable means of securing assets or profits. In return, BCCI would pay bribes to the figure, or otherwise give him other things he wanted in a simple quid-pro-quo.

The result was that BCCI had relationships that ranged from the questionable, to the improper, to the fully corrupt with officials from countries all over the world, including Argentina, Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Colombia, the Congo, Ghana, Guatemala, the Ivory Coast, India, Jamaica, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

3. BCCI DEVELOPED A STRATEGY TO INFILTRATE THE U.S. BANKING SYSTEM, WHICH IT SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTED, DESPITE REGULATORY BARRIERS THAT WERE DESIGNED TO KEEP IT OUT.

In 1977, BCCI developed a plan to infiltrate the U.S. market through secretly purchasing U.S. banks while opening branch offices of BCCI throughout the U.S., and eventually merging the institutions. BCCI had significant difficulties implementing this strategy due to regulatory barriers in the United States designed to insure accountability. Despite these barriers, which delayed BCCI's entry, BCCI was ultimately successful in acquiring four banks, operating in seven states and the District of Colombia, with no jurisdiction successfully preventing BCCI from infiltrating it.

The techniques used by BCCI in the United States had been previously perfected by BCCI, and were used in BCCI's acquisitions of banks in a number of Third World countries and in Europe. These included purchasing banks through nominees, and arranging to have its activities shielded by prestigious lawyers, accountants, and public relations firms on the one hand, and politically-well connected agents on the other. These techniques were essential to BCCI's success in the United States, because without them, BCCI would have been stopped by regulators from gaining an interest in any U.S. bank. As it was, regulatory suspicion towards BCCI required the bank to deceive regulators in collusion with nominees including the heads of state of several foreign emirates, key political and intelligence figures from the Middle East, and entities controlled by the most important bank and banker in the Middle East.

Equally important to BCCI's successful secret acquisitions of U.S. banks in the face of regulatory suspicion was its aggressive use of a series of prominent Americans, beginning with Bert Lance, and continuing with former Defense Secretary Clark Clifford, former U.S. Senator Stuart Symington, well-connected former federal bank regulators, and former and current local, state and federal legislators. Wittingly or not, these individuals provided essential assistance to BCCI through lending their names and their reputations to BCCI at critical moments. Thus, it was not merely BCCI's deceptions that permitted it to infiltrate the United States and its banking system. Also essential were BCCI's use of political influence peddling and the revolving door in Washington.

4. THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT MISHANDLED ITS INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF BCCI, AND ITS RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES CONCERNING BCCI.

Federal prosecutors in Tampa handling the 1988 drug money laundering indictment of BCCI failed to recognize the importance of information they received concerning BCCI's other crimes, including its apparent secret ownership of First American. As a result, they failed adequately to investigate these allegations themselves, or to refer this portion of the case to the FBI and other agencies at the Justice Department who could have properly investigated the additional information.

The Justice Department, along with the U.S. Customs Service and Treasury Departments, failed to provide adequate support and assistance to investigators and prosecutors working on the case against BCCI in 1988 and 1989, contributing to conditions that ultimately caused the chief undercover agent who handled the sting against BCCI to quit Customs entirely.

The January 1990 plea agreement between BCCI and the U.S. Attorney in Tampa kept BCCI alive, and had the effect of discouraging BCCI's officials from telling the U.S. what they knew about BCCI's larger criminality, including its ownership of First American and other U.S. banks.

The Justice Department essentially stopped investigating BCCI following the plea agreement, until press accounts, Federal Reserve action, and the New York District Attorney's investigation in New York forced them into action in mid-1991.

Justice Department personnel in Washington lobbied state regulators to keep BCCI open after the January 1990 plea agreement, following lobbying of them by former Justice Department personnel now representing BCCI.

Relations between main Justice in Washington and the U.S. Attorney for Miami, Dexter Lehtinen, broke down on BCCI-related prosecutions, and key actions on BCCI-related cases in Miami were, as a result, delayed for months during 1991.

Justice Department personnel in Washington, Miami, and Tampa actively obstructed and impeded Congressional attempts to investigate BCCI in 1990, and this practice continued to some extent until William P. Barr became Attorney General in late October, 1991.

Justice Department personnel in Washington, Miami and Tampa obstructed and impeded attempts by New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau to obtain critical information concerning BCCI in 1989, 1990, and 1991, and in one case, a federal prosecutor lied to Morgenthau's office concerning the existence of such material. Important failures of cooperation continued to take place until William P. Barr became Attorney General in late October, 1991.

Cooperation by the Justice Department with the Federal Reserve was very limited until after BCCI's global closure on July 5, 1991.

Some public statements by the Justice Department concerning its handling of matters pertaining to BCCI were more cleverly crafted than true.

5. NEW YORK DISTRICT ATTORNEY MORGENTHAU NOT ONLY BROKE THE CASE ON BCCI, BUT INDIRECTLY BROUGHT ABOUT BCCI'S GLOBAL CLOSURE.

Acting on information provided him by the Subcommittee, New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau began an investigation in 1989 of BCCI which materially contributed to the chain of events that resulted in BCCI's closure.

Questions asked by the District Attorney intensified the review of BCCI's activities by its auditors, Price Waterhouse, in England, and gave life to a moribund Federal Reserve investigation of BCCI's secret ownership of First American.

The District Attorney's criminal investigation was critical to stopping an intended reorganization of BCCI worked out through an agreement among the Bank of England, the government of Abu Dhabi, BCCI's auditors, Price Waterhouse, and BCCI itself, in which the nature and extent of BCCI's criminality would be suppressed, while Abu Dhabi would commit its financial resources to keep the bank going during a restructuring. By the late spring of 1991, the key obstacle to a successful restructuring of BCCI bankrolled up Abu Dhabi was the possibility that the District Attorney of New York would indict. Such an indictment would have inevitably caused a swift and thoroughly justified an international run on BCCI by depositors all over the world. Instead, it was a substantial factor in the decision of the Bank of England to take the information it had received from Price Waterhouse and rely on it to close BCCI.

6. BCCI'S ACCOUNTANTS FAILED TO PROTECT BCCI'S INNOCENT DEPOSITORS AND CREDITORS FROM THE CONSEQUENCES OF POOR PRACTICES AT THE BANK OF WHICH THE AUDITORS WERE AWARE FOR YEARS.

BCCI's decision to divide its operations between two auditors, neither of whom had the right to audit all BCCI operations, was a significant mechanism by which BCCI was able to hide its frauds during its early years. For more than a decade, neither of BCCI's auditors objected to this practice.

BCCI provided loans and financial benefits to some of its auditors, whose acceptance of these benefits creates an appearance of impropriety, based on the possibility that such benefits could in theory affect the independent judgment of the auditors involved. These benefits included loans to two Price Waterhouse partnerships in the Caribbean. In addition, there are serious questions concerning the acceptance of payments and possibly housing from BCCI or its affiliates by Price Waterhouse partners in the Grand Caymans, and possible acceptance of sexual favors provided by BCCI officials to certain persons affiliated with the firm.

Regardless of BCCI's attempts to hide its frauds from its outside auditors, there were numerous warning bells visible to the auditors from the early years of the bank's activities, and BCCI's auditors could have and should have done more to respond to them.

By the end of 1987, given Price Waterhouse (UK)'s knowledge about the inadequacies of BCCI's records, it had ample reason to recognize that there could be no adequate basis for certifying that it had examined BCCI's books and records and that its picture of those records were indeed a "true and fair view" of BCCI's financial state of affairs.

The certifications by BCCI's auditors that its picture of BCCI's books were "true and fair" from December 31, 1987 forward, had the consequence of assisting BCCI in misleading depositors, regulators, investigators, and other financial institutions as to BCCI's true financial condition.

Prior to 1990, Price Waterhouse (UK) knew of gross irregularities in BCCI's handling of loans to CCAH/First American and was told of violations of U.S. banking laws by BCCI and its borrowers in connection with CCAH/First American, and failed to advise the partners of its U.S. affiliate or any U.S. regulator.

There is no evidence that Price Waterhouse (UK) has to this day notified Price Waterhouse (US) of the extent of the problems it found at BCCI, or of BCCI's secret ownership of CCAH/First American. Given the lack of information provided Price Waterhouse (US) by its United Kingdom affiliate, the U.S. firm performed its auditing of BCCI's U.S. branches in a manner that was professional and diligent, albeit unilluminating concerning BCCI's true activities in the United States.

Price Waterhouse's certification of BCCI's books and records in April, 1990 was explicitly conditioned by Price Waterhouse (UK) on the proposition that Abu Dhabi would bail BCCI out of its financial losses, and that the Bank of England, Abu Dhabi and BCCI would work with the auditors to restructure the bank and avoid its collapse. Price Waterhouse would not have made the certification but for the assurances it received from the Bank of England that its continued certification of BCCI's books was appropriate, and indeed, necessary for the bank's survival.

The April 1990 agreement among Price Waterhouse (UK), Abu Dhabi, BCCI, and the Bank of England described above, resulted in Price Waterhouse (UK) certifying the financial picture presented in its audit of BCCI as "true and fair," with a single footnote material to the huge losses still to be dealt with, failed adequately to describe their serious nature. As a consequence, the certification was materially misleading to anyone who relied on it ignorant of the facts then mutually known to BCCI, Abu Dhabi, Price Waterhouse and the Bank of England.

The decision by Abu Dhabi, Price Waterhouse (UK), BCCI and the Bank of England to reorganize BCCI over the duration of 1990 and 1991, rather than to advise the public of what they knew, caused substantial injury to innocent depositors and customers of BCCI who continued to do business with an institution which each of the above parties knew had engaged in fraud.

From at least April, 1990 through November, 1990, the Government of Abu Dhabi had knowledge of BCCI's criminality and frauds which it apparently withheld from BCCI's outside auditors, contributing to the delay in the ultimate closure of the bank, and causing further injury to the bank's innocent depositors and customers.

7. THE CIA DEVELOPED IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON BCCI, AND INADVERTENTLY FAILED TO PROVIDE IT TO THOSE WHO COULD USE IT.

THE CIA AND FORMER CIA OFFICIALS HAD A FAR WIDER RANGE OF CONTACTS AND LINKS TO BCCI AND BCCI SHAREHOLDERS, OFFICERS, AND CUSTOMERS, THAN HAS BEEN ACKNOWLEDGED BY THE CIA.

By early 1985, the CIA knew more about BCCI's goals and intentions concerning the U.S. banking system than anyone else in government, and provided that information to the U.S. Treasury and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, neither of whom had the responsibility for regulating the First American Bank that BCCI had taken over. The CIA failed to provide the critical information it had gathered to the correct users of the information -- the Federal Reserve and the Justice Department.

After the CIA knew that BCCI was as an institution a fundamentally corrupt criminal enterprise, it continued to use both BCCI and First American, BCCI's secretly held U.S. subsidiary, for CIA operations.

While the reporting concerning BCCI by the CIA was in some respects impressive -- especially in its assembling of the essentials of BCCI's criminality, its secret purchase of First American by 1985, and its extensive involvement in money laundering -- there were also remarkable gaps in the CIA's reported knowledge about BCCI.

Former CIA officials, including former CIA director Richard Helms and the late William Casey; former and current foreign intelligence officials, including Kamal Adham and Abdul Raouf Khalil; and principal foreign agents of the U.S., such as Adnan Khashoggi and Manucher Ghorbanifar, float in and out of BCCI at critical times in its history, and participate simultaneously in the making of key episodes in U.S. foreign policy, ranging from the Camp David peace talks to the arming of Iran as part of the Iran/Contra affair. Yet the CIA has continued to maintain that it has no information regarding any involvement of these people, raising questions about the quality of intelligence the CIA is receiving generally, or its candor with the Subcommittee. The CIA's professions of total ignorance about their respective roles in BCCI are out of character with the Agency's early knowledge of many critical aspects of the bank's operations, structure, personnel, and history.

The errors made by the CIA in connection with its handling of BCCI were complicated by its handling of this Congressional investigation. Initial information that was provided by the CIA was untrue; later information that was provided was incomplete; and the Agency resisted providing a "full" account about its knowledge of BCCI until almost a year after the initial requests for the information. These experiences suggest caution in concluding that the information provided to date is full and complete. The relationships among former CIA personnel and BCCI front men and nominees, including Kamal Adham, Abdul Khalil, and Mohammed Irvani, requires further investigation.

8. THE FLAWED DECISIONS MADE BY REGULATORS IN THE US WHICH ALLOWED BCCI TO SECRETLY ACQUIRE US BANKS WERE CAUSED IN PART BY GAPS IN THE REGULATORY PROCESS AND IN PART BY BCCI'S USE OF WELL-CONNECTED LAWYERS TO HELP THEM THROUGH THE PROCESS.

When the Federal Reserve approved the take over of Financial General Bankshares by CCAH in 1981, it had substantial circumstantial evidence before it to suggest that BCCI was behind the bank's purchase. The Federal Reserve chose not to act on that evidence because of the specific representations that were made to it by CCAH's shareholders and lawyers, that BCCI was neither financing nor directing the take over. These representations were untrue and the Federal Reserve would not have approved the CCAH application but for the false statements made to it.

In approving the CCAH application, the Federal Reserve relied upon representations from the Central Intelligence Agency, State Department, and other U.S. agencies that they had no objections to or concerns about the Middle Eastern shareholders who were purporting to purchase shares in the bank. The Federal Reserve also relied upon the reputation for integrity of BCCI's lawyers, especially that of former Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford and former Federal Reserve counsel Baldwin Tuttle. Assurances provided the Federal Reserve by the CIA and State Department, and by both attorneys, had a material impact on the Federal Reserve's willingness to approve the CCAH application despite its concerns about BCCI's possible involvement.

In 1981, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency had additional information, from reports concerning BCCI's role in the Bank of America and the National Bank of Georgia, concerning BCCI's possible use of nominee arrangements and alter egos to purchase banks on its behalf in the United States, which it failed to pass on to the Federal Reserve. This failure was inadvertent, not intentional.

In approving the CCAH application, the Federal Reserve permitted BCCI and its attorneys to carve out a seeming loophole in the commitment that BCCI not be involved in financing or controlling CCAH's activities. This loophole permitted BCCI to act as an investment advisor and information conduit to CCAH's shareholders. The Federal Reserve's decision to accept this arrangement allowed BCCI and its attorneys and agents to use these permitted activities as a cover for the true nature of BCCI's ownership of CCAH and the First American Banks.

After approving the CCAH application in 1981, the Federal Reserve received few indicators about BCCI's possible improper involvement in CCAH/First American. However, at several critical junctures, especially the purchase by First American of the National Bank of Georgia from Ghaith Pharaon in 1986, there were obvious warnings signs that could have been investigated and which were not, until late 1990.

As a foreign bank whose branches were chartered by state banking authorities, BCCI largely escaped the Federal Reserve's scrutiny regarding its criminal activities in the United States unrelated to its interest in CCAH/First American. This gap in regulatory oversight has since been closed by the passage of the Foreign Bank Supervision Enhancement Act of 1991.

The U.S. Treasury Department failed to provide the Federal Reserve with information it received concerning BCCI's ownership of First American in 1985 and 1986 from the CIA. However, IRS agents did provide important information to the Federal Reserve on this issue in early 1989, which the Federal Reserve failed adequately to investigate at the time.

The FDIC approved Ghaith Pharaon's purchase of the Independence Bank in 1985 knowing him to be a shareholder of BCCI and knowing that he was placing a senior BCCI officer in charge of the bank, and failed to confer with the Federal Reserve or the OCC regarding their previous experiences with Pharaon and BCCI.

Once the Federal Reserve commenced a formal investigation of BCCI and First American on January 3, 1991, its investigation of BCCI and First American was aggressive and diligent. Its decisions to force BCCI out of the United States and to divest itself of First American were prompt. The charges it brought against the parties involved with BCCI in violating federal banking standards were fully justified by the record. Its investigations have over the past year contributed substantially to public understanding to date of what took place.

Even after the Federal Reserve understood the nature and scope of BCCI's frauds, it did not seek to have BCCI closed globally. This position was in some measure the consequence of the Federal Reserve's need to secure the cooperation of BCCI's majority shareholders, the government and royal family of Abu Dhabi, in providing some $190 million to prop up First American Bank and prevent an embarrassing collapse. However, Federal Reserve investigators did actively work in the spring of 1991 to have BCCI's top management removed.

In investigating BCCI, the Federal Reserve's efforts were hampered by examples of lack of cooperation by foreign governments, including most significantly the Serious Fraud Office in the United Kingdom and, since the closure of BCCI on July 5, 1991, the government of Abu Dhabi.

U.S. regulatory handling of the U.S. banks secretly owned by BCCI was hampered by lack of coordination among the regulators, which included the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, and the OCC, highlighting the need for further integration of these separate banking regulatory agencies on supervision and enforcement.

9. THE BANK OF ENGLAND'S REGULATION OF BCCI WAS WHOLLY INADEQUATE TO PROTECT BCCI'S DEPOSITORS AND CREDITORS, AND THE BANK OF ENGLAND WITHHELD INFORMATION ABOUT BCCI'S FRAUDS FROM PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE FOR FIFTEEN MONTHS BEFORE CLOSING THE BANK.

The Bank of England had deep concerns about BCCI from the late 1970s on, and undertook several steps to slow BCCI's expansion in the United Kingdom.

In 1988 and 1989, the Bank of England learned of BCCI's involvement in the financing of terrorism and in drug money laundering, and undertook additional, but limited supervision of BCCI in response to receiving this information.

In the spring of 1990, Price Waterhouse advised the Bank of England that there were substantial loan losses at BCCI, numerous poor banking practices, and evidence of fraud, which together had created a massive hole in BCCI's books. The Bank of England's response to the information was not to close BCCI down, but to find ways to prop up BCCI and prevent its collapse. This meant, among other things, keeping secret the very serious nature of BCCI's problems from its creditors and one million depositors.

In April, 1990, the Bank of England reached an agreement with BCCI, Abu Dhabi, and Price Waterhouse to keep BCCI from collapsing. Under the agreement, Abu Dhabi agreed to guarantee BCCI's losses and Price Waterhouse agreed to certify BCCI's books. As a consequence, innocent depositors and creditors who did business with BCCI following that date were deceived into believing that BCCI's financial problems were not as serious as each of these parties already knew them to be.

From April, 1990, the Bank of England relied on British bank secrecy and confidentiality laws to reduce the risk of BCCI's collapse if word of its improprieties leaked out. As a consequence, innocent depositors and creditors who did business with BCCI following that date were denied vital information, in the possession of the regulators, auditors, officers, and shareholders of BCCI, that could have protected them against their losses.

In order to prevent risk to its restructuring plan for BCCI and a possible run on BCCI, the Bank of England withheld important information from the Federal Reserve in the spring of 1990 about the size and scope of BCCI's lending on CCAH/First American shares, despite the Federal Reserve's requests for such information. This action by the Bank of England delayed the opening of a full investigation by the Federal Reserve for approximately eight months.

Despite its knowledge of some of BCCI's past frauds, and its own understanding that consolidation into a single entity is essential for regulating a bank, in late 1990 and early 1991 the Bank of England tentatively agreed with BCCI and its Abu Dhabi owners to permit BCCI to restructure as three "separate" institutions, based in London, Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong. This tentative decision demonstrated extraordinarily poor judgment on the part of the Bank of England. This decision was reversed abruptly when the Bank of England suddenly decided to close BCCI instead in late June, 1991.

The decision by the Bank of England in April 1990 to permit BCCI to move its headquarters, officers, and records out of British jurisdiction to Abu Dhabi has had profound negative consequences for investigations of BCCI around the world. As a result of this decision, essential records and witnesses regarding what took place were removed from the control of the British government, and placed under the control of the government of Abu Dhabi, which has to date withheld them from criminal investigators in the U.S. and U.K. This decision constituted a costly, and likely irretrievable, error on the part of the Bank of England.

10. CLARK CLIFFORD AND ROBERT ALTMAN PARTICIPATED IN IMPROPRIETIES WITH BCCI IN THE UNITED STATES.

Regardless of whether Clifford and Altman were deceived by BCCI in some respects, both men participated in some BCCI's deceptions in the United States.

Beginning in late 1977, Clifford and Altman assisted BCCI in purchasing a U.S. bank, Financial General Bankshares, with the participation of nominees, and understood BCCI's central involvement in directing and controlling the transaction.

In the years that followed, they made business decisions regarding acquisitions for First American that were motivated by BCCI's goals, rather than by the business needs of First American itself; and represented as their own to regulators decisions that had been made by Abedi and BCCI on fundamental matters concerning First American, including the purchase by First American of the National Bank of Georgia and First American's decision to purchase branches in New York City.

Clifford and Altman concealed their own financing of shares of First American by BCCI from First American's other directors and from U.S. regulators, withheld critical information that they possessed from regulators in an effort to keep the truth about BCCI's ownership of First American secret, and deceived regulators and the Congress concerning their own knowledge of and personal involvement in BCCI's illegalities in the United States.

11. ABU DHABI'S INVOLVEMENT IN BCCI'S AFFAIRS WAS FAR MORE CENTRAL THAN IT HAS ACKNOWLEDGED, INVOLVING IN SOME CASES NOMINEE RELATIONS AND NO-RISK TRANSACTIONS THAT ABU DHABI IS TODAY COVERING-UP THROUGH HIDING WITNESSES AND DOCUMENTS FROM U.S. INVESTIGATORS.

Members of Abu Dhabi's ruling family appear to have contributed no more than $500,000 to BCCI's capitalization prior to April 1990, despite being the record owner of almost one-quarter of the bank's total shares. An unknown but substantial percentage of the shares acquired by Abu Dhabi overall in BCCI appear to have been acquired on a risk-free basis -- either with guaranteed rates of return, buy-back arrangements, or both.

The interest held in BCCI by the Abu Dhabi ruling family, like the interests held by the rulers of the three other gulf sheikdoms in the United Arab Emirates who owned shares of BCCI, materially aided and abetted Abedi and BCCI in projecting the illusion that BCCI was backed by, and capitalized by, Abu Dhabi's wealth. Investments made in BCCI by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority appear to have been genuine, although possibly guaranteed by BCCI with buy-back or other no-risk arrangements.

Shares in Financial General Bankshares held by members of the Abu Dhabi royal family in late 1977 and early 1978 appear to have been nominee arrangements, adopted by Abu Dhabi as a convenience to BCCI and Abedi, under arrangements in which Abu Dhabi was to be without risk, and BCCI was to guarantee the purchase through a commitment to buy-back the stock at an agreed upon price.

Abu Dhabi's representative to BCCI's board of directors, Ghanim al Mazrui, received unorthodox financial benefits from BCCI in no-risk stock deals which may have compromised his ability to exercise independent judgment concerning BCCI's actions; confirmed at least one fraudulent transaction involving Abu Dhabi; and engaged in other improprieties pertaining to BCCI; but remains today in place at the apex of Abu Dhabi's committee designated to respond to BCCI's collapse.

In April, 1990, Abu Dhabi was told in detail about BCCI's fraud by top BCCI officials, and failed to advise BCCI's external auditors of what it had learned. Between April, 1990 and November, 1990, Abu Dhabi and BCCI together kept some information concerning BCCI's frauds hidden from the auditors.

From April, 1990 through July 5, 1991, Abu Dhabi tried to save BCCI through a massive restructuring. As part of the restructuring process, Abu Dhabi agreed to take responsibility for BCCI's losses, Price Waterhouse agreed to certify BCCI's books for another year, and Abu Dhabi, Price Waterhouse, the Bank of England, and BCCI agreed to keep all information concerning BCCI's frauds and other problems secret from BCCI's one million depositors, as well as from U.S. regulators and law enforcement, to prevent a run on the bank.

After the Federal Reserve was advised by the New York District Attorney of possible nominee arrangements involving BCCI and First American, Abu Dhabi, in an apparent effort to gain the Federal Reserve's acquiescence in BCCI's proposed restructuring, provided limited cooperation to the Federal Reserve, including access to selected documents. The cooperation did not extend to permitting the Federal Reserve open access to all BCCI documents, or substantive communication with key BCCI officials held in Abu Dhabi, such as BCCI's former president, Swaleh Naqvi. That access ended with the closure of BCCI July 5, 1991.

From November, 1990 through the present, Abu Dhabi has failed to provide documents and witnesses to U.S. law enforcement authorities and to the Congress, despite repeated commitments to do so. Instead, it has actively prevented U.S. investigators from having access to vital information necessary to investigate BCCI's global wrongdoing.

The proposed agreement between Abu Dhabi and BCCI's liquidators to settle their claims against one another contains provisions which could have the consequence of permitting Abu Dhabi to cover up any wrongdoing it may have had in connection with BCCI.

There is some evidence that the Sheikh Zayed may have had a political agenda in agreeing to the involvement of members of the Abu Dhabi royal family and its investment authority in purchasing shares of Financial General Bankshares, then of CCAH/First American. This evidence is offset, in part, by testimony that Abu Dhabi share purchases in the U.S. bank were done at Abedi's request and did not represent an actual investment by Abu Dhabi until much later.

 

12. BCCI MADE EXTENSIVE USE OF THE REVOLVING DOOR AND POLITICAL INFLUENCE PEDDLING IN THE UNITED STATES TO ACCOMPLISH ITS GOALS.

BCCI's political connections in Washington had a material impact on its ability to accomplish its goals in the United States. In hiring lawyers, lobbyists and public relations firms in the United States to help it deal with its problems vis a vis the government, BCCI pursued a strategy that it had practiced successfully around the world: the hiring of former government officials.

BCCI's and its shareholders' cadre of professional help in Washington D.C. included, at various times, a former Secretary of Defense (Clark Clifford), former Senators and Congressmen (John Culver, Mike Barnes), former federal prosecutors (Larry Wechsler, Raymond Banoun, and Larry Barcella, a former State Department Official (William Rogers), a former White House aide (Ed Rogers), a current Presidential campaign deputy director (James Lake), and former Federal Reserve Attorneys (Baldwin Tuttle, Jerry Hawke, and Michael Bradfield). In addition, BCCI solicited the help of Henry Kissinger, who chose not to do business with BCCI but made a referral of BCCI to his own lawyers.

At several key points in BCCI's activities in the U.S., the political influence and personal contacts of those it hired had an impact in helping BCCI accomplish its goals, including in connection with the 1981 CCAH acquisition of FGB and the handling and aftermath of BCCI's plea agreement in Tampa in 1990.

The political connections of BCCI's U.S. lawyers and lobbyists were critical to impeding Congressional and law enforcement investigations from 1988 through 1991, through a variety of techniques that included impugning the motives and integrity of investigators and journalists, withholding subpoenaed documents, and lobbying on capital hill to protect BCCI's reputation and discourage efforts to close the bank down in the United States.

13. BCCI'S PUBLIC RELATIONS FIRM SMEARED PEOPLE WHO WERE TELLING THE TRUTH AS PART OF ITS WORK FOR BCCI.

When Hill and Knowlton accepted BCCI's account in October, 1988, its partners knew of BCCI's reputation as a "sleazy" bank, but took the account anyway. In 1988 and 1989, Hill and Knowlton assisted BCCI with an aggressive public relations campaign designed to demonstrate that BCCI was not a criminal enterprise, and to put the best face possible on the Tampa drug money laundering indictments. In so doing, it disseminated materials unjustifiably and unfairly discrediting persons and publications who were telling the truth about BCCI's criminality.

Important information provided by Hill and Knowlton to Capitol Hill and provided by First American to regulators concerning the relationship between BCCI and First American in April, 1990 was false. The misleading material represented the position of BCCI, First American, Clifford and Altman concerning the relationship, and was contrary to the truth known by BCCI, Clifford and Altman.

 

Hill and Knowlton's representation of BCCI was within the norms and standards of the public relations industry, but raises larger questions as to the relationship of those norms and standards to the public interest.

14. BCCI ACTIVELY SOLICITED THE FRIENDSHIPS OF MAJOR U.S. POLITICAL FIGURES, AND MADE PAYMENTS TO THESE POLITICAL FIGURES, WHICH IN SOME CASES MAY HAVE BEEN IMPROPER.

Beginning with Bert Lance in 1977, whose debts BCCI paid off with a $3.5 million loan, BCCI, BCCI nominees, and top officials of BCCI systematically developed friendships and relationships with important U.S political figures. While those which are publicly known include former president Jimmy Carter, Jesse Jackson, and Andrew Young, the Subcommittee has received information suggesting that BCCI's network extended to other U.S. political figures. The payments made by BCCI to Andrew Young while he was a public official were at best unusual, and by all appearances, improper.

15. BCCI'S COMMODITIES AFFILIATE, CAPCOM, ENGAGED IN BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF LARGELY ANONYMOUS TRADING IN THE US WHICH INCLUDED A VERY SUBSTANTIAL LEVEL OF MONEY LAUNDERING, WHILE CAPCOM SIMULTANEOUSLY DEVELOPED SIGNIFICANT TIES TO IMPORTANT U.S. TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY EXECUTIVES AND FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE FIGURES.

BCCI's commodities affiliate, Capcom, based in Chicago, London and Cairo, was principally staffed by former BCCI bankers, capitalized by BCCI and BCCI customers, and owned by BCCI, BCCI shareholders, and front-men. Capcom employed many of the same practices as BCCI, especially the use of nominees and front companies to disguise ownership and the movement of money. Four U.S. citizens -- none of whom had any experience or expertise in the commodities markets -- played important and varied roles as Capcom front men in the United States.

While investigation information concerning Capcom is incomplete, its activities appear to have included misappropriation of BCCI assets; the laundering of billions of dollars from the Middle East to the US and other parts of the world; and the siphoning of assets from BCCI to create a safe haven for them outside of the official BCCI empire.

Capcom's majority shareholders, Kamal Adham and A.R. Khalil, were both former senior Saudi government officials and successively acted as Saudi Arabia's principal liaisons to the Central Intelligence Agency during the 1970's and 1980's.

 

Its U.S. front men included Robert Magness, the CEO of the largest U.S. cable telecommunications company, TCI; a vice-President of TCI, Larry Romrell; and two other Americans, Kerry Fox and Robert Powell, with long-standing business interests in the Middle East. Magness, Romrell and Fox received loans from BCCI for real estate ventures in the U.S., and Magness and Romrell discussed numerous business ventures between BCCI and TCI, some of which involved the possible purchase of U.S. telecommunications stock and substantial lending by BCCI.

Commodities regulators with the responsibility for investigating Capcom showed little interest in conducting a thorough investigation of its activities, and in 1989 allowed Capcom to avoid such an investigation through agreeing to cease doing business in the United States.

The Subcommittee could not determine whether BCCI, Capcom, or their shareholders or agents actually acquired equity interests in the U.S. cable industry and believes further investigation of matters pertaining to Capcom is essential.

16. INVESTIGATIONS OF BCCI TO DATE REMAIN INCOMPLETE, AND MANY LEADS CANNOT BE FOLLOWED UP, AS THE RESULT OF DOCUMENTS BEING WITHHELD FROM US INVESTIGATORS BY THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT, AND DOCUMENTS AND WITNESSES BEING WITHHELD FROM US INVESTIGATORS BY THE GOVERNMENT OF ABU DHABI.

Many of the specific criminal transactions engaged in by BCCI's customers remain hidden from investigation as the result of bank secrecy laws in many jurisdictions, British national security laws, and the holding of key witnesses and documents by the Government of Abu Dhabi. Documents pertaining to BCCI's use to finance terrorism, to assist the builders of a Pakistani nuclear bomb, to finance Iranian arms deals, and related matters have been sealed in the United Kingdom by British intelligence and remain unavailable to U.S. investigators. Many other basic matters pertaining to BCCI's criminality, including any list that may exist of BCCI's political payoffs and bribes, remain sequestered in Abu Dhabi and unavailable to U.S. investigators.

Many investigative leads remain to be explored, but cannot be answered with devoting substantial additional sources that to date no agency of government has been in a position to provide.

Unanswered questions include, but are not limited to, the relationship between BCCI and the Banco Nazionale del Lavoro; the alleged relationship between the late CIA director William Casey and BCCI; the extent of BCCI's involvement in Pakistan's nuclear program; BCCI's manipulation of commodities and securities markets in Europe and Canada; BCCI's activities in India, including its relationship with the business empire of the Hinduja family; BCCI's relationships with convicted Iraqi arms dealer Sarkis Sarkenalian, Syrian drug trafficker, terrorist, and arms trafficker Monzer Al-Kassar, and other major arms dealers; the use of BCCI by central figures in the alleged "October Surprise," BCCI's activities with the Central Bank of Syria and with the Foreign Trade Mission of the Soviet Union in London; its involvement with foreign intelligence agencies; the financial dealingst of BCCI directors with Charles Keating and several Keating affiliates and front-companies, including the possibility that BCCI related entities may have laundered funds for Keating to move them outside the United States; BCCI's financing of commodities and other business dealings of international criminal financier Marc Rich; the nature, extent and meaning of the ownership of other major U.S. financial institutions by Middle Eastern political figures; the nature, extent, and meaning of real estate and financial investments in the United States by major shareholders of BCCI; the sale of BCCI affiliate Banque de Commerce et Placement in Geneva, to the Cukorova Group of Turkey, which owned an entity involved in the BNL Iraqi arms sales, among others.

 

The withholding of documents and witnesses from U.S. investigators by the Government of Abu Dhabi threatens vital U.S. foreign policy, anti-narcotics and money laundering, and law enforcement interests, and should not be tolerated.

 

The Hidden Financial Ties between the Bush and the Bin Laden Families.
by Thierry Meyssan*
The perpetrators of September 11, 2001 attacks and the people that knew about these terrorist acts could prevent, anticipate and know what their economic effects would be. Consequently, they were able to make some speculative schemes in the stock market on the airlines that owned the hijacked airplanes, on the societies that had its headquarters in the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and their respective insurances. They could also anticipate a possible general fall on the shares quoted on the stock market. In order to do all this, they just had to speculate for a fall by buying not only the shares of these companies but the «puts», that is, the «put option». The identification of these «knowers» involved in this financial crime represented not only a key piece in a stock market fraud but, and above all, a mean to directly or indirectly establish the identity of the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks.


 

A Financial Crime

Several days after the September 11 attacks, it was known that certain stock market maneuvers with the characteristics of a "financial crime" were made six days before the attacks. [1]The United Airlines shares (the company which owned the planes that crashed against the southern part of the WTC and in Pittsburg) in the Stock artificially fell 42%. Those of American Airlines (the company that owned the plane that crashed against the northern part of the WTC and the allegedly plane that disappeared when it crashed against the Pentagon) fell 39%. No other airline in the world had been subject to such speculative schemes, except for the KLM Real Dutch Airlines.

So, it can be said that a plane of the Dutch company was also targeted by the terrorists to launch perhaps a fifth attack in a hijacked plane too. Identical maneuvers were also recognized on the put options of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co which were multiplied by 12 a week before the attacks. The said society had 22 floors of the WTC. The same thing happened with the put options of the leading stockbroker of the world: Merryl Lynch & Co which headquarters was located in a neighboring building next to the WTC in danger of collapsing. Its shares were multiplied by 25; especially the put options on the shares of insurances involved: Munich, Re, Swiss and AXA.

The Chicago Monitoring Commission of stock operations was the first one to call people’s attention. It affirmed that in Chicago’s stock market, the “knowers” had 5 million dollars gains or benefits from United Airlines, 4 million dollars from American Airlines, 1.2 million dollars from Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co and 5.5 million dollars from Merryl Lynch & Co. The monitoring experts every major stock market checked and rechecked the gains of the “knowers”. All investigations were coordinated by the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). [2]

On October 15, 2001, a video-conference was filmed in which the national authorities presented their first reports. It was showed that the illegal gains would sum hundreds of millions of dollars, that is, “the greatest and most important financial crime of all times” perpetrated by these “knowers”. It was possible to state that most financial transactions had been “made” by the Deutsche Bank and its American investment affiliate, Alex Brown. [3] Until 1998, this society was managed by a peculiar man: Mister A. B. Krongard, marines’ Capitan, shooting and martial arts lover. This banker became adviser to the director of the CIA and, since March 26, 2001, was number three in the American espionage agency (CIA). Based on the importance of the investigation and A. B. Krongard’s influence, it was thought that Alex Brown society would cooperate with the authorities to facilitate the financial criminals’ identification. But this was not the case and nothing has been done up to now. Likewise, it was thought that the revelations made by Ernest Backes [4] several months ago regarding the existence of the registers of the main inter-banks transactions made by two “clearing” organizations would have facilitated the investigators hunting. But, once again, nothing was done.

Despite the militaristic statements made by western leaders against “Terrorism”, the fact is that no investigation has been actually finished; as if they want the whole thing to be forgotten, even when world peace is in danger and many things depend on this. It is about leading the world public opinion to think that the discretion and opacity of the tax heavens would not help or lead to find “clues” of these illegal transactions which would then lead to find the criminal terrorists involved in the attacks. Meanwhile, the financial criminals have prudently relinquished to the 2.5 million dollars of the gain from American Airlines for the alert given prevented them from collecting the last millions earned.

Osama Bin Laden’s Fortune

At the same time, other investigations were carried out to determine the importance of Osama Bin Laden’s fortune, the alleged author of the terrorist attacks, and locate the financial societies he controlled. Graduated in Management and Economy from King Abdul Aziz University, Osama Bin Laden is a very clever businessman. In 1979, his tutor, Prince Turki al Fayçal al Saud (by then, director of Saudi Arabia secret services from 1977 to August 2001), asked him to direct and financially manage the CIA secret operations in Afghanistan. In a few years, the CIA invested 2 billion dollars in Afghanistan to provoke the failure of the USSR’s invasion. This has been the most expensive secret operation ever made by the American espionage agency. It was unique in history.

In 1994, while Ben Laden had become America’s number one enemy and Saudi Arabia had divested him of his nationality, Osama Bin Laden inherited about 300 million dollars, his part from family society Saudi Binladen Group SBG. [5] This holding, the most important one of Saudi Arabia, made half of its total money from construction and public works, and the other half came from engineering, real states, distributions, telecommunications and edition.

SBG founded also an investment Swiss society, the SICO (Saudi Investment Company) which at the same time founded other societies with the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia affiliates. The SBG also has important interests in General Electric, Nortel Networks and Cadbury Schweppes. SBG’s industrial activities are represented in the United States by Adnan Khashoggi (former brother in law of Mohammed al Fayçal) whereas its financial capitals are managed by the Carlyle Group. Up to 1996, SBG’s affiliates’ legalization was prepared in Lausanne (Switzerland) by its adviser, Nazi banker Francois Genoud -picture to the right. [6]

SGB was also much linked to the Wahhabi regimen, the ruling regimen in Saudi Arabia, and was the only company hired to build the sacred sites of the kingdom, Medina and the Mecca. Likewise, it also had most of BTP contracts for the construction of American military bases in Saudi Arabia and for the reconstruction of Kuwait after the Gulf War. The SGB was founded in 1931 by the Patriarch, the sheikh Mohammed Ben Laden. After his death in 1968, his oldest son Salem succeeded him. But Salem died in a “plane crash” in Texas, United States, in 1988. Today, the SBG is managed by Bark, the second son of the founder.

But, despite the fact that the SBG has stated it had no contacts with Osama Bin Laden since 1994, many authors and experts have established the difference between the positive law and the costume law. For them, the fundamentalist leader still has his moral authority and gets his part of the money too.

Osama Bin Laden [7] invested his inheritance in founding several banks, food and agriculture societies and the distribution of Sudan. Among these companies, Osama Bin Laden invested 50 million dollars in the Al-Shamal Islamic Bank in which Tadamon Islamic Bank (logo to the lower right) is a reference shareholder. Due to this financial overlapping, Osama Bin Laden became the business partner of the Minister of Social Affairs of the United Arab Emirates and of the Dar al-Maal al Islami, which prince Mamad Al Faisal uses to finance the group of movements, associations and the Wahhabis of the world on behalf of Saudi Arabia. Osama Bin Laden also has important interests in the Dubai Islamic Bank of Mohammed Khalfan Ben Kharbash, minister of finance of the United Arab Emirates.

Assisted at the beginning by Colonel Omar Asan el-Bechir, and later by Hassan el-Tourabi, Osama Bin Laden was able to develop several companies in Sudan by building an airport, freeways, a pipeline and controlling most of the production of the Arabic gum. But, despite all this, he was expelled out of Sudan in 1996. It was suspected Osama Bin Laden had been a shareholder of Al-Shifa pharmaceutical lab bombed by Clinton in 1998 for the allegedly production of chemical weapons. It’s been also believed Osama Bin Laden had a leading role in the international trade of opium where Afghanistan is the major producer.

Osama Bin Laden has had a spiritual authority upon the powerful Muslim charitable associations, especially the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) and the foundation of King Fahd’s brother in law, the Abdul Aziz al Ibrahim. If we add to his fortune the stock of weapons he might have kept from the first war in Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden’s fortune could be assessed between 300 and 500 million dollars, a figure quite different from the 6 billion dollars some political personalities have said he has. Anyway, up to now, there has been no evidence to prove the possible links between the societies controlled by fundamentalist leader Osama Bin Laden and the perpetrators of the September 11 «financial crime».

The Financial Partners of Osama Bin Laden

Two well-known personalities have been omnipresent in Osama Bin Laden’s societies: the sheik Khaled Salim Ben Mahfouz and Saleh Idris. According to Forbes Magazine, Khaled Ben Mahfouz is ranked 251 among the richest of the world with a fortune assessed 1.9 billion dollars. His father founded the main bank of Saudi Arabia, the National Commercial Bank (picture -the headquarters of the NCB is in Djeddah) which founded several societies with the Bin Laden Group’s SICO. Mahfouz’ sister married Osama Bin Laden. [8] Up to 1996, the Bin Mahfouz and the Bin Laden benefited from the services and advises of Francois Genoud for the establishment of their financial subsidiaries.

Khaled Ben Mahfouz has a residence in Houston, Texas, and with the support of the Bush family, he bought part of the city airport for his personal business. He also has many societies world wide. Despite being a usual and trade partner of Osama Bin laden, Khaled Ben Mahfouz is a much respected businessman in the most important Stocks of the world. This is an important element for he was also involved in a huge banking scandal at the beginning of the 90s: the «crack» case or BCCI’s bankruptcy -see the report. [9] The Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) was an Anglo-Pakistani institution with subsidiaries in 73 countries. It was controlled by three powerful families: the Gokal (Pakistan), the Ben Mahfouz (Saudi Arabia) and the Geith Pharaon (Abu Dhabi). This bank was used by Ronald Reagan to bribe and corrupt the Iranian government so that it would delay the liberation of the American hostages from Teheran embassy. The purpose was to sabotage and discredit the end of Jimmy Carter’s presidency (Operation “October Surprise”). Later, sponsored by the former director of the CIA and Vice-president George Bush (father), the Reagan Administration used again the BCCI to transfer its contributions to the “Contras” in Nicaragua as well as the CIA money for the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan that fought the Soviet Union and communism.

The BCCI was also involved in the arms traffic of Syrian “trader” Sarkis Sarkenalian, in the Keatinga scandal in the United States, in the affairs of “trader” Marc Rich and the funding of group Abu Nidal, etc. All in all, the BCCI had serious problems when it was found out that it laundered money from the Medellin Cartel. When it was finally closed, the BCCI divested from their savings million of clients in the world who could never get their money back.

It is true the BCCI was manipulated but to think the bank was founded by the CIA must not surprise us. There is an old banking tradition in the American secret services since the foundation of the OSS by business attorneys and Wall Street stockbrokers. Two former directors of the CIA, Richard Helms and William Casey, worked for the BCCI, as well as CIA influent prestigious agents Adnan Khashoggi and Manucher Ghobanifar (the main traders of the Irangate), not to mention Kamal Adham (brother in law of King Fayçal and chief of Saudi Arabia secret services until 1977), prince Turki al-Fayçal al-Saud (chief of Saudi Arabia secret services until August 2001) and Abdul Khalil (deputy director of the said secret services).

The BCCI worked closely with SICO, [10] a Swiss affiliate of Saudi Bin Laden Group investments. Among the main managers of SICO we have Osama Bin Laden’s half-brother, Yeslam Bin Laden, who was recently granted the Swiss nationality and lives nowadays in Geneva. A year before its bankruptcy, the BCCI was used to make a huge illegal enrichment operation for George W. Bush son, the current President of the United States, when he was the manager of a small oil society called Harken Energy Corporation. Harken got the oil concessions of the state of Bahrain as part of a commission for the American-Kuwaiti contracts negotiated by President George Bush father. [11] Khaled Bin Mahfouz was a shareholder of Harken with 11.5%. His shares were “taken” to one of his representatives, Abdullah Taha Bakhsh. On his side, one of Osama Bin Laden’s brothers, Salem, was one of the representatives of the Board of Directors of Harken Company through his American representative James R. Bath.

Accused as the main responsible for BCCI’s bankruptcy, Khaled Bin Mahfouz was sentenced by the American justice in 1992. However, he was able to get rid of the accusations against him in 1995 due to a 245 million dollars agreement with his financial partners. On his part, Saleh Idris, director of the Saudi Sudanese Bank which was only a Sudanese subsidiary of Khaled Ben Mahfouz’ National Commercial Bank, was Osama Bin Laden’s partner in the pharmaceutical plant of Al-Shifa. In England, Saled Idris has been IES Digital Systems’ major shareholder, an important company which produces high-tech materials of electronic surveillance. Lately, Baroness Cox has been surprised in the House of Lords for IES Digital Systems guarantees the protection of the most sensitive and strategic British governmental and military sites. [12]

From BCCI to the Carlyle Group

BCCI’s main responsible and clients are found today in the Carlyle Group, an investment fund in administration specialized in the management of financial capitals. It was created in 1987, for years before BCCI bankruptcy. Currently, Carlyle manages 12 billion dollars and has major shares in Seven Up (which also bottles the Cadbury Schweppes), Federal Data Corporation (which equipped the Federal Aviation Administration and its system of civil air traffic surveillance) and the United Defense Industries Inc. (the main military supplier of the American, Turkish and Saudi Arabic armies). Through the companies it controls and manages, the Carlyle Group is the 11 among the American arms companies.

In 1990, the Carlyle Group was accused of funds extortion. A lobbyist of the Republican Party, Wayne Bernman, had “racketed” the pension funds of the American retirees to finance the Bushes electoral campaigns. One of the persons in charge of the said funds accepted to give a million dollars to the Carlyle Group in order to get a public contract in the state of Connecticut. The Carlyle Group manages the most important part of the Saudi Bin Laden Group financial funds. Among its managers, we have Sami Mubarak Brama, the representative in Great Britain of the Khaled Ben Mahfouz and Talat Othmann, a former manager of the Harken Energy Corporation, the society that helped George W. Bush to become rich illegally.

The Carlyle Group is managed by Frank C. Carlucci (former deputy director of the CIA and later Secretary of Defense) who is advised by James A. Baker III (President Reagan former chief of staff, later Secretary of the Treasury and then Secretary of State of George Bush father). Another adviser is Richard Darman (former Budget Director). Contrary to what the whole world think, Osama Bin Laden has been not only a CIA intermediary hired to fight the Arab nationalism and the Soviet Union when it invaded Afghanistan, thus raising the radical Islamism, but still, he and his family are one of the main financial partners of the Bush family.

If as some American official think, the Bin Laden family maintains its relations with Osama Bin Laden and finances his political activities then, the Carlyle Group which manages the millionaire funds of the Saudi Bin Laden Group would be involved in the financial crime. Consequently, Bush father would then be one of the luckiest who benefited from the speculative schemes of September 11, 2001.

 Thierry Meyssan
Journalist and writer, president of the Voltaire Network.
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