Bingham Report on BCCI: Victims see new support for their demands

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The Independent Online
VICTIMS of the BCCI fraud say the Bingham report supports their demands for compensation from the Government.

Runi Khan, who has suffered doubly as a manager and a mortgagee with the corrupt bank, said: 'It confirms our view that the Bank of England were at fault. The Government knew at least a week before the Bank of England closed it down. They were party to it.'

She added: 'We want a compensation package. We want to know what they are going to do for us.'

Ms Khan said former BCCI employees not only lost their jobs, their cheap mortgages and, in some cases, their savings, they were also tainted by having worked for the corrupt bank. 'Some of my colleagues have tried to get 200, 300 jobs and have not even had an interview. Every single reply has been a 'No'.'

Drawing a comparison with the redundancy money that the Government intends to pay the miners, Ms Khan said: 'Through no fault of ours, we have lost our jobs, we are not being compensated and our future has been absolutely destroyed.'

The local authorities that lost millions in the collapse echoed many of Ms Khan's comments. Rory Mair, chief executive of Ross and Cromarty district council and spokesman for the councils that lost money, said the Bingham report was a 'damning indictment' of the UK regulatory system. 'Following so closely on the Kerry report in the US, it shows how government and its institutions have failed thousands of depositors both at home and abroad.'

Mr Mair said the report overwhelmingly supported the councils' case for compensation from the Bank of England: 'Councils and their charge payers must not suffer for the failure of the Bank to carry our its regulatory role.'

Ms Khan, who lives in Kingsbury, north-west London, was BCCI's first woman branch manager before becoming assistant manager of the main City branch. She said: 'The Bank of England is trying to get away with it by saying it did not really have adequate powers. They seem to have had adequate powers to shut the bank worldwide. . . . Bingham certainly says they have enough powers.'

Beshouri Naaman lost his life savings in the collapse of BCCI, money he earned during 25 years working for British Airways in Saudi Arabia.

'We trusted the regulators,' he said. 'We feel very let down. Had we been warned, had we had time, we would not have had our money there. I am desperately unhappy with what has gone on. I blame the Bank of England. It should have given some indication.'

Mr Naaman added: 'I worked all my life . . . a high proportion of what I earned and what I saved has gone. The Bank of England, the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi and the auditors: each of these three have contributed to this situation I am in.'

Mr Naaman is 64 and retired, but he said he was trying his best to get into business. He is well connected in Saudi Arabia but finds it difficult to travel because of visa restrictions.

Mr Naaman has lived in Ilford in Essex since November 1990. 'I am happy here because this country has given me a home. But the regulators have failed me.'