BCCI lawyer held in US

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The Independent Online
A senior City lawyer, David Sandy, was arrested at New York's JFK airport yesterdayafter he flew in voluntarily to face criminal charges relating to the Bank of Credit and Commerce International saga.

The Manhattan District Attorney, Robert Morgenthau, said that Mr Sandy, 40, a partner at Simmons & Simmons, would be indicted in the State Supreme Court today on two felony counts of tampering with evidence. He would also face a misdemeanour charge of conspiracy for allegedly trying to keep evidence from a grand jury investigating the conduct of BCCI. The felonies each carry a maximum prison sentence of up to four years.

The District Attorney's office had sought to have Mr Sandy extradited from the UK last week. According to UK legal sources, the charges are not extraditable.

Mr Sandy's New York lawyerssaid last night:"He has been advised by counsel that this prosecution is a novel, untested and unprecedented application of New York law. He is not guilty of these charges and intends to vigorously assert and establish his innocence."

Mr Sandy is accused of concealing the business diary ofZafar Iqbal, BCCI's chief executive when the bank was closed by regulators in July 1991. BCCI became the biggest banking scandal in history, with losses from long-term fraud estimated at more than £6bn.

The lawyer was one of a Simmons team taken on by BCCI's majority shareholder, the state of Abu Dhabi, following the bank's collapse. At Christmas Abu Dhabi hired a rival City law firm, Macfarlanes,because of Mr Sandy's perceived difficulties with the New York DA's office. Three weeks ago Simmons resigned the Abu Dhabi account.

Mr Sandy's US lawyers said he was being accused of suppressing information that had been held on computer disks, but had made this information available when requested to do so by the District Attorney's office.