Bank of Credit and Commerce International

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US arrival

Iran-Contra affair

Main article: Iran-Contra

1991 collapse

Criminal investigations


Political connections

Foreign leaders

  • Manuel Noriega (Panama)
  • Saddam Hussein (Iraq)
  • Ferdinand Marcos (Philippines)
  • Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua)
  • Alan Garcia (Peru)

Intelligence agencies

Weapons smugglers

  • Adnan Khashoggi
  • Chinese arms dealers - Silkworm missiles
  • North Korean arms dealers - Scud-B missiles

Drug traffickers

  • Manuel Noriega
  • ...

Terrorist organizations

  • Afghan mujahideen
  • Nicaraguan Contras
  • ...

US takeover

Corporate connections

  • Savings-and-loan institutions
    • CenTrust
    • ...

  • Stephens Inc. and Systematics Inc. - helped take over Financial General Bankshares to bring BCCI to the US; likely installed Systematics software

External links

CIA involvement

ISI involvement

  • Washington Post, "PAKISTAN'S ILLICIT ECONOMIES AFFECT BCCI", 1991/09/01: "According to diplomatic sources, Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Turki bin Faisal -- working with Pakistan's main intelligence agency -- distributed over $1 billion in cash to Afghan guerrillas during the late 1980s. [...] What role, if any, BCCI may have played in Pakistan's maelstrom of drugs, guns and money has been the subject of considerable speculation during the last several weeks. [...] Pakistan branch records from 1984, obtained independently, show relatively small deposits and limited loan activity. However, the biggest deposits were made by BCCI affiliate companies, including $100 million by Kuwait Investment Finance Co. Regulators have said Kuwait Investment and other BCCI affiliates were often used as fronts by the bank to disguise fraud or other wrongdoing. BCCI did have a close relationship with Pakistan's government through a foundation managed by BCCI officers, according to documents and former bank employees. The bank donated millions of dollars to a science foundation headed by Pakistan's president, according to public foundation records. Separately, BCCI founder Agha Hasan Abedi paid stipends to Pakistani politicians and others, according to politicians, bank employees and diplomats."
  • Ch.23 of "The BCCI Affair": "APPENDICES": "1. The extent of BCCI's involvement in Pakistan's nuclear program. As set forth in the chapter on BCCI in foreign countries, there is good reason to conclude that BCCI did finance Pakistan's nuclear program through the BCCI Foundation in Pakistan, as well as through BCCI-Canada in the Parvez case. However, details on BCCI's involvement remain unavailable. Further investigation is needed to understand the extent to which BCCI and Pakistan were able to evade U.S. and international nuclear non-proliferation regimes to acquire nuclear technologies."
  • Peter Dale Scott, "Deep History and the Global Drug Connection, Enter Al-Qaeda: Part IV", 2016/05/13: "Casey repeatedly held similar meetings with General Zia in Pakistan — arranged by Abedi (39)— and with Saudi intelligence chiefs Kamal Adham and Prince Turki al-Faisal (both BCCI shareholders). As a result of such conclaves, Prince Turki distributed more than $1 billion in cash to Afghan guerrillas, which was matched by another billion from the CIA. [...] Meanwhile “BCCI handled transfers of funds through its Pakistani branches and acted as a collection agency for war matériel and even for the mujahideens’ pack animals”:(41) To access the CIA money was relatively easy. Bags of dollar bills were flown into Pakistan and handed over to Lieutenant General Akhtar Abdur Rahman, the ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence] director. Rahman banked the cash in ISI accounts held by the National Bank of Pakistan, the Pakistan-controlled Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) and the Bank of Oman (one-third owned by the BCCI).(42)"

American branch

  • Washington Post, 1978/02/18, "Lance Is Named Defendant in Bank's Suit": "Bert Lance, the former budget director, was named as a defendant in a suit filled yesterday alleging that he and others are using illegal means to try to get control of Washington's second-largest banking company, Financial General Bankshares Inc. [...] Besides Lance, the defendants include Arkansas financier Jackson Stephens, amember of the executive committee and a major fundraiser. Also named in thesuit are Stephen's Inc., the country's 10th largest brokerage, which is in Little Rock and is controlled by Stephens; Agha Hasan Abedi, a Pakistan-born financier, and the London-based bank he operates, Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCC), and Systematics Inc., a data processing service company for banks that is 80 per cent controlled by Stephens, inc. [...] The suit says that since October the group has "surreptitiously" acquired more than 5 percent of Financial General with the intent of acquiring control of the company. [...] The Financial General suit alleges that Jackson Stephens, who owned just under 5 percent of the company, wanted the takeover to further his personal business interests. He allegedly wanted the bank holding company to buy the services of his computer company, which presumably the Lance group agreed to do in exchange for his backing in the takeover effort. Lance and Stephens have been close personal, political and business friends for more than three years. [...] Lance's role in the alleged takeover attempt is vaguely presented in the suit. He reportedly met with Financial General officials last week and, after explaining that he represented Abedi interests, made it clear he wanted a senior executive post after the takeover. Adedi is a director of BCCI Holdings (Luxemburg) S.A., which the suit says is owned and controlled by Sheikh Zayed, the sovereign of Abu Dhabi, Bank of America and 25 individual investors consisting of nationals of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Pakistan."
  • Washington Post, 1980/02/11, "Bank Stockholders Sue Middle Eastern Owners"
  • Washington Post, 1991/02/03, "WHO CONTROLS FIRST AMERICAN BANKSHARES?"
    • "Then in 1988, First American's name came up unexpectedly in a criminal trial in Miami. Evidence showed that BCCI executives had helped Panamanian leader Manuel Antonio Noriega launder drug money through an account at First American. [...] The Federal Reserve, which has primary responsibility for regulating the ownership of bank holding companies, reacted by trying to find out about the relationship between BCCI and First American, just as it did when it approved the takeover in 1981. But the inquiry ended with the same result as the previous one: The board noted, for the record, that it had allowed new investors from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to acquire the company only after being promised "that BCCI would not be involved in the management." But documents and interviews in New York, London and Washington suggest that BCCI and First American have had an extensive, long-term relationship that ppears contrary to what regulators say they understood it would be. For example, BCCI's president participated in the hiring of three First American executives. BCCI executives helped negotiate two important First American acquisitions. BCCI helped finance First American's impressive expansion as it grew to be the nation's 51st largest bank holding company, with eight subsidiaries in six states and the District. On a regular basis, First American Chairman Clark M. Clifford and First American President Robert A. Altman flew to New York and London to brief senior BCCI executives."
    • "Founded in 1972 by Agha Hasan Abedi, a hard-driving banker from Pakistan who had financial backing from the ruling family of the United Arab Emirates, BCCI skyrocketed quickly into the ranks of the world's largest private banks."
    • "Then, too, there was BCCI's tarnished record when it came to First American. In 1977, BCCI helped organize a hostile takeover bid for First American's predecessor, Financial General Bankshares. [...] Admitting no wrongdoing, the accused group settled the suit by agreeing to make an open offer for the outstanding shares of Financial General. The takeover succeeded; Financial General's principal stockholders agreed to sell. But when the new shareholders' application to acquire Financial General arrived at the Federal Reserve's stately offices in October 1980, it raised eyebrows among banking regulators in Washington and in those states where Financial General had subsidiaries. "I could not for the life of me figure out what the relationship was between BCCI and their investors and {First American's Virginia subsidiary}," said Sidney Bailey, Virginia's commissioner of financial institutions. New York banking regulators feared that "the Arab investors might have been acting for BCCI," said Geofredo Rodriquez, a New York regulator."
    • "It was a large group that gathered on April 23, 1981, for an "informal private hearing" in Room B 1215 at the Federal Reserve's headquarters at 20th and Constitution NW. Sixteen regulators, including four state banking regulators, listened as Clifford introduced the four prospective new owners of the holding company. First was the lead investor, Sheik Kamal Adham, former head of the Saudi Arabian intelligence service. He was followed by Faisal Saud Fulaij, the long-time chairman of Kuwait Airways, Abdul Raouf Khalil, a Saudi Arabian real estate investor, and Sayed Gohary, a Saudi Arabian businessmen."
    • "A red flag did go up in September 1988 when a federal agent in Miami caught a BCCI executive on tape in the Noriega money-laundering case. The executive, Amjad Awan, was secretly recorded as he talked about BCCI's operations in the United States. Awan, who was later convicted of money-laundering and sentenced to 12 years in prison, began describing his view of the relationship between BCCI and First American's shareholders from his vantage point as head of BCCI's Latin American division. "BCCI was acting as adviser to them," Awan told the federal agent. "But the truth of the matter . . . is that the bank belongs to BCCI. Those guys {the First American investors} are just nominee shareholders." Clifford dismissed Awan's account, saying Awan had no way of knowing the facts. "I can see how this would grab you," he said. "I can only say he is totally incorrect.""
  • Washington Post, 1991/07/31, "FED SEEKS TO FINE BCCI $200 MILLION": "Beginning in 1978, the Pakistani officers of BCCI conspired with a group of Middle Eastern front men to take control of First American without the knowledge of American bank regulators, who would not permit BCCI to acquire a U.S. bank, the Fed said in a summary of evidence gathered so far in its investigation. The 100-page Fed report sharpens the central bank's confrontation with two of Washington's most prominent attorneys, Clark M. Clifford and Robert A. Altman, the chairman and president of First American. Their assurances that BCCI would have no involvement in First American were pivotal in regulators' decisions to permit the Middle Eastern investors to acquire the Washington-based banking company. Long after Clifford and Altman took command of First American in 1982, the Fed said, BCCI participated in several major management decisions, including the 1983 acquisition of bank branches in New York, the 1984 hiring of key executives and the 1986 purchase of the National Bank of Georgia (NBG). The Fed said that BCCI arranged a series of transactions in First American bank stock that produced a trading profit of $9.8 million for Clifford and Altman -- a profit they have said was compensation for their services to First American. [...] On Jan. 30, 1978, BCCI executive Abdus Sami sent a telex to Abedi that he had retained Clifford to handle Fed approval of the takeover and was lining up front men, or nominees, as they are described in the Fed report. Sami added, "We must be careful that our name (BCCI) does not appear as financier to most of (the investors) for this acquisition," said the telex, one of many documents gathered in the investigation."

Other curiosities

  • Ch.4 of "The BCCI Affair": "BCCI's Criminality": "According to one U.S. investigator with substantial knowledge of BCCI's activities, some BCCI officials have acknowledged that some of the females provided some members of the Al-Nahyan family were young girls who had not yet reached puberty, and in certain cases, were physically injured by the experience. The official said that former BCCI officials had told him that BCCI also provided males to homosexual VIPs."