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U.S. Senate Report on BCCI

U.S. Senate Report on BCCI

Publication: The Times of India
Date: October 4, 2002

Tale of Corruption in high places

The controversial BCCI had 'questionable' relationships with officials from all over the world, including India, a U.S. Senate sub-committee investigating the bank has reported, according to PTI.

The Kerry sub-committee gives several cases of payoffs it 'has been best able to document'. This document makes no reference to the family of Mrs. Indira Gandhi, though a former BCCI official, Mr. Abdur Sakhia, has alleged that the family of the late prime minister was 'in the payoff of the BCCI.'

The report quotes Mr. Sakhia, former BCCI head in Miami, as telling the committee staff in interviews that 'there was worldwide list of people in the payoff of BCCI, the family of Indira Gandhi, President (Mohammed Ershad) of Bangladesh, General Zia of Pakistan, many of the leaders of Africa.'

Calling BCCI 'the largest case of organized crime in history' the report said that 'BCCI had relationships that ranged from questionable to the improper, to the fully corrupt with officials from countries all over the world.'

The report said besides payoffs, the BCCI was involved in financing arms transactions and prostitution.

It said the BCCI's protocol department, in addition to constructing palaces and vacation homes for the Abu Dhabi ruler, provided Pakistani prostitutes to the male members of his family as well as those of other west Asian rulers.

The bank also financed an Indian expatriate, who is a licensed arms dealer in the United Kingdom, in his transactions, the report said.

On BCCI's involvement in prostitution the report said 'these were typically teenage girls, known as ‘singing and dancing girls', and selected, outfitted and trained by a women named Begum Hashari Rahim, who later was promoted to the official position of interior decorator to the ruling family of Abu Dhabi'.

'BCCI's involvement in prostitution arose out of its creation of its special protocol department in Pakistan to service the personal requirements of the Al-Nahyan family of Abu Dhabi, and on as-needed basis, other BCCI VIP's, including the families of other West Asian rulers,' it said.

'Several BCCI officers described the protocol department's handling of prostitution to senate investigators in private, and two- Abdur Sakhia and Nazir Chinoy- confirmed their general knowledge of the practice in testimony,' the report added.

'Given the size of Ms Rahim's retinue and her spending habits-- $ 1,00,000 at a time was not unusual when she was engaged in outfitting her charges. Her activities became notorious in the Pakistani community generally, and there was substantial competition among clothiers and jewelers for her business,' the report said.

'Bribery and prostitution were two techniques to discourage Government inquiry into BCCI's activities. Intimidation of potential witnesses and whistle blowers was another,' it added.

Accusing the British Government of withholding from the U.S. investigators key documents, including those about the bank's assistance to builders to the Pakistan's nuclear bomb, the report says key documents remain unavailable.

'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 by British intelligence and remain unavailable to U.S. investigators,' the report says.

'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,' it adds.

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