Who got what from the bank of Credit and Commerce International


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President Robert Mugabe, Vice-President  Joshua Nkomo and former Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith were all named in the Bank of Credit and Commercial International United States Senate report as having been paid to allow the bank to operate in Zimbabwe. A figure of 500 000 pounds sterling is even mentioned. We publish here, the chapter on BBCI’s relationship with foreign governments, central banks and international organisations. This document is 52 pages. If you are only interested in the Zimbabwe section scroll down to the section highlighted in yellow.

 

 

BCCI'S RELATIONSHIP WITH FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS

CENTRAL BANKS, AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Introduction

On July 5, 1991, when BCCI was closed, some one million small depositors in BCCI around the world lost their deposits.

In addition to these small depositors, there were other, larger depositors. Among those depositors were central banks, governmental organizations, government investment funds, and government officials, involving most of the countries in the world.

There is no way of knowing even now precisely who were among all those who lost money. BCCI made frequent use of "managers' ledgers" or numbered accounts for its most sensitive depositors, whose identities were typically kept secret from everyone other than their personal banker at BCCI. Given the anonymity, the secrecy, and the source of the income behind many of these deposits, some depositors, including governmental officials or agencies, have not necessarily been in a position to assert claims to the money they have lost.

However, some sense of the impact on governmental entities and global officialdom is provided by an account appearing in the French wire service Agence France Presse a few days after BCCI's global shut-down, concerning BCCI losses at its tiny branch in Korea, entitled "Angry Diplomats Urge Government To Release Their BCCI Assets":

A major row is erupting between the South Korean government and foreign diplomats whose deposits have been frozen by the suspension of the Seoul branch of the scandal-hit Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). Incensed diplomats from 33 countries met last Thursday at a European embassy here to coordinate strategy after a protest they filed with the central bank of Korea went unheeded, diplomats said. The diplomats said that 120 of their colleagues from 33 embassies have had part or all of their deposits frozen. In addition, the accounts of several embassies have been frozen, forcing some to cut back operations. . . The local branch of BCCI had strongly lobbied diplomats here to use the bank, offering interest rates slightly above average and putting a wide international network at their disposal, officials said. . . . The envoys said that among those countries [in Korea alone] whose embassies were in partial or deep trouble were [a number of] Latin American countries, Bangladesh, Belgium, Iran, Italy, Hungary, Liberia, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Yugoslavia . . . Peru and Argentina have suspended consular operations [entirely] because of lack of funds.(1)

BCCI's offices in Korea were among the bank's smallest, containing just $92 million out of BCCI's total of $23 billion in assets. Yet small as the branch was, the impact of its closure on the foreign diplomatic corps in Seoul was devastating. This tiny branch of BCCI had, somehow, developed relationships with these embassies that neither domestic banks in Korea, nor any of the other foreign banks doing business in Korea had obtained.

The fact so many officials from so many countries banked at a single, obscure BCCI office provides an insight into the success of BCCI's overall strategy of targeting government officials everywhere to use its array of banking services.

In his July 29, 1992 indictment of BCCI's former heads, Agha Hasan Abedi and Swaleh Naqvi, and two of BCCI's front-men, Ghaith Pharaon and Faisal Saud Al Fulaij, New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau alleged, in some detail, how BCCI systematically engaged in criminal activity with officials and prominent political figures from many countries to generate assets for BCCI's Ponzi scheme, both from the governments involved, and from innocent, legitimate depositors.

Continued next page

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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