BCCI man charged after extradition from France

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The Independent Online
SYED Ziauddin Ali Akbar, the former head of BCCI Overseas's treasury division, appeared before magistrates yesterday after being extradited from France. He was charged with false accounting involving sums totalling billions of dollars, writes John Willcock.

Mr Akbar, 48, a British national, headed BCCI's treasury division from 1979 to 1984. In 1987 he became a director of Capital Commodity Dealers. BCCI was closed in 1991 by a worldwide team of regulators led by the Bank of England.

Mr Akbar, who was escorted from France by City of London police on Tuesday, faced 20 charges of false accounting at City of London magistrates' court and was remanded in custody until tomorrow.

He faced two false accounting charges, one relating to 13 December 1982 in respect of dollars 70m and the other for 22 December 1982 in respect of dollars 47.15m. There were also 14 charges of falsifying documents, relating to dates between December 1983 and February 1986, and involving sums totalling more than dollars 35bn. Mr Akbar's extradition follows a request from the UK government on behalf of the Serious Fraud Office.

The SFO has spent an estimated pounds 10m so far on the investigation of BCCI but has charged only three other people.

Although the UK was the centre of much of BCCI's business, many key figures have left the country. Some have gone to Pakistan, which has no extradition treaty with the UK, others to Abu Dhabi, which has detained 18 executives.

BCCI was set up in 1972 by a mainly Pakistani management with Arab financial backing. The founder, Agha Hasan Abedi, remains in Pakistan.

BCCI's liquidator, Touche Ross, is preparing for the first, massive creditors' meeting in Wembley Arena on 27 May. Worldwide creditors face losses of dollars 12bn. The meeting will cost dollars 100,000.

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