BCCI report to be published 'within weeks'

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The Independent Online
THE Bingham report on the supervision of the collapsed Bank of Credit and Commerce International, which was given yesterday to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Governor of the Bank of England, is expected to be published in 'weeks rather than months', writes Terence Wilkinson.

A Treasury spokesman said the intention was to publish as much as possible of the report, which is almost certain to criticise the Bank.

The Chancellor and the Governor were seeking legal advice on publication and the views of the prosecuting authorities.

A decision on how much of the report to publish would be taken in the light of the confidentiality provisions of the Banking Act, designed to protect customers, and the need not to prejudice any criminal proceedings.

The Government has been under political pressure to publish the report's findings, the result of 11 months of investigations, as quickly as possible.

Keith Vaz, the Labour MP campaigning for BCCI's creditors and former staff, has been demanding that Parliament be recalled if the report criticised the Governor of the Bank of England.

Earlier drafts of the report indicated that the Bank of England and Abu Dhabi, the majority shareholder in BCCI, would be criticised for delays in reporting and acting on evidence of fraud at the bank.

Abu Dhabi indicated it was unhappy with the preliminary drafts, raising the possibility of a rift between the emirate and Britain.

A draft report criticised BCCI's majority shareholders in Abu Dhabi for withholding for nine months information about the extent of fraud in the bank.

It highlighted interviews in April 1990 between Swaleh Naqvi, the bank's former chief executive, and representatives of Abu Dhabi which showed that BCCI had stolen up to dollars 2.2bn belonging to Sheikh Zayed, Abu Dhabi's ruler.

The Bank of England was criticised for waiting four months after officials were alerted to BCCI's fraudulent activities. The Bank closed BCCI down last July.

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