BCCI fraud victims to get compensation

Victims of the biggest fraud in history won a symbolic victory yesterday after a pounds 2.9m fine against former shipping tycoon Abbas Gokal, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison earlier this month, was turned into a compensation order, writes Tom Stevenson.

"We are very pleased by the compensation order the court made this morning. However, Abbas Gokal caused significant damage to BCCI and its creditors and we will continue to pursue his assets worldwide," the liquidator Christopher Morris of Deloitte & Touche said.

Keith Vaz, Labour MP for Leicester East and long time champion of victims of the collapse of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, also welcomed the decision: "I am absolutely delighted that the judge has decided to reverse the decision and turn the fine into a compensation order ... I urge the liquidator to pay the money over."

If Gokal - who fled to Pakistan from his company's Swiss base when BCCI collapsed in 1991 with debts of more than $12bn (pounds 7.5bn) - does not pay, he faces an extra three years in prison.

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