Bank of Credit and Commerce International
| Bank of Credit and Commerce International |
|Founder||Agha Hasan Abedi|
|The "Bank of Crooks and Criminals International", as some nicknamed it, was a bank set up to facilitate large scale, global money laundering, mainly to support a range of black operations by intelligence agencies.|
The Bank of Credit and Commerce International, (BCCI) was a financial organisation which was protected and used by the CIA. Kevin Ryan summarised it as a "CIA-linked terrorist financing network". Peter Dale Scott wrote in The American Deep State that it is "clear that throughout the 1980s the American deep state in Washington was involved with BCCI and protected it."
The company itself divided into BCCI Holdings with the bank under that splitting into BCCI SA (Luxembourg) and BCCI Overseas (Grand Cayman). BCCI also acquired parallel banks through acquisitions: buying the Banque de Commerce et Placements (BCP) of Geneva in 1976, and creating KIFCO (Kuwait International Finance Company), Credit & Finance Corporation Ltd, and a series of Cayman-based companies held together as ICIC (International Credit and Investment Company Overseas, International Credit and Commerce [Overseas], etc.). Overall, BCCI expanded from 19 branches in five countries in 1973 to 27 branches in 1974, to 108 branches in 1976, with assets growing from $200 million to $1.6 billion.
The following is taken from "The BCCI Game: Banking on America, Banking on Jihad" by investigative journalist Lucy Komisar in the book "A Game as Old as Empire," published by Berrett-Koehler (San Francisco).
BCCI was founded in 1972 by a Pakistani banker, Agha Hasan Abedi, with the support of Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi and head of the United Arab Emirates. Its corporate strategy was money laundering. It became the banker for drug and arms traffickers, corrupt officials, financial fraudsters, dictators and terrorists.
The CIA used BCCI Islamabad and other branches in Pakistan to funnel some of the $2 billion that Washington sent to Osama bin Laden's Mujahadeen to help fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. It moved the cash the Pakistani military and government officials skimmed from U.S. aid to the Mujahadeen. It also moved money as required by the Saudi intelligence services.
The BCCI operation gave Osama bin Laden an education in offshore black finance, which he would put to use when he organized the jihad against the United States. He would move money through the Al-Taqwa Bank, operating in offshore Nassau and Switzerland with two Osama siblings as shareholders.
At the same time, BCCI helped Saddam Hussein, funneling millions of dollars to the Atlanta branch of the Italian government-owned Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL), Baghdad's U.S. banker, so that from 1985 to 1989 it could make $4 billion in secret loans to Iraq to help it buy arms.
U.S. congressman Henry Gonzalez held a hearing on BNL in 1992 during which he quoted from a confidential CIA document that said the agency had long been aware that the bank's headquarters was involved in the U.S. branch's Iraqi loans.
Kickbacks from 15 percent commissions on BNL-sponsored loans were channeled into bank accounts held for Iraqi leaders via BCCI offices in the Caymans as well as in offshore Luxembourg and Switzerland. BNL was a client of Kissinger Associates, and Henry Kissinger was on the bank's international advisory board, along with Brent Scowcroft, who would become George Bush Sr.'s national security advisor. That connection makes the Bush administration's surprise and indignation at "oil for food" payoffs in Iraq seem disingenuous.
Important Saudis were influential in the bank. Sheik Kamal Adham, brother-in-law of the late Saudi King Faisal, head of Saudi intelligence from 1963 to 1979, and the CIA's liaison in the area, became one of BCCI's largest shareholders. George Bush Sr. knew Adham from his time running the CIA in 1975.
Another investor was Prince Turki bin Faisal al-Saud, who succeeded Adham as Saudi intelligence chief. The family of Khalid Salem bin Mahfouz, owner of the National Commercial Bank, the largest bank in Saudi Arabia, banker to King Fahd and other members of the ruling family, bought 20 percent to 30 percent of the stock for nearly $1 billion. Bin Mahfouz was put on the board of directors.
The Arabs' interest in the bank was more than financial. A classified CIA memo on BCCI in the mid-1980s said that "its principal shareholders are among the power elite of the Middle East, including the rulers of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, and several influential Saudi Arabians. They are less interested in profitability than in promoting the Muslim cause."
The Bushes' private links to the bank passed to Bin Mahfouz through Texas businessman James R. Bath, who invested money in the United States on behalf of the Saudi. In 1976, when Bush was the head of the CIA, the agency sold some of the planes of Air America, a secret "proprietary" airline it used during the Vietnam War, to Skyway, a company owned by Bath and Bin Mahfouz. Bath then helped finance George W. Bush's oil company, Arbusto Energy Inc., in 1979 and 1980.
When Harken Energy Corp., which had absorbed Arbusto (by then merged with Spectrum 7 Energy), got into financial trouble in 1987, Jackson Stephens of the powerful, politically connected Arkansas investment firm helped it secure $25 million in financing from the Union Bank of Switzerland. As part of that deal, a place on the board was given to Harken shareholder Sheik Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, whose chief banker was BCCI shareholder Bin Mahfouz.
Then, in 1988, George Bush Sr. was elected president. Harken benefited by getting some new investors, including Salem bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's half brother, and Khalid bin Mahfouz. Osama bin Laden himself was busy elsewhere at the time — organizing al Qaeda.
The money BCCI stole before it was shut down in 1991 — somewhere between $9.5 billion and $15 billion — made its 20-year heist the biggest bank fraud in history. Most of it was never recovered. International banks' complicity in the offshore secrecy system effectively covered up the money trail.
But in the years after the collapse of BCCI, Khalid bin Mahfouz was still flush with cash. In 1992, he established the Muwafaq ("blessed relief") Foundation in the offshore Channel Islands. The U.S. Treasury Department called it "an al Qaeda front that receives funding from wealthy Saudi businessmen."When the BCCI scandal began to break in the late 1980s, the Sr. Bush administration did what it could to sit on it. The Justice Department went after the culprits — was virtually forced to — only after New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau did. But evidence about BCCI's broader links exist in numerous U.S. and international investigations. Now could be a good time to take another look at the BCCI-Osama-Saddam-Saudi-Bush connection.
Use the Up/Dn symbols to sort
|The State, the Deep State, and the Wall Street Overworld||paper||10 March 2014||Peter Dale Scott||An recommended and highly referenced overview of the deep state in action centering on the complex milieu of Khashoggi, the BCCI, and the Safari Club.|
Use the Up/Dn symbols to sort
|Is Martin McGuinness a British Agent?||“Indeed, in 1991 journalist Richard Norton-Taylor revealed the existence of a list of something like 500 prominent Britons, including around 90 in the media, who were in the employ of the CIA, and paid through the old friend of the intelligence services, the BCCI.”||5 May 2004|
- The American Deep State, Peter Dale Scott, p. 29
- Lucy Komisar. "The Evidence Is There: It's Time for Congress to Investigate the Ties Between the Bush Family and Osama bin Laden", IPS News April 4, 2007, http://www.alternet.org/story/50156/the_evidence_is_there%3A_it%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2s_time_for_congress_to_investigate_the_ties_between_the_bush_family_and_osama_bin_laden