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BCCI INQUIRIES YIELD NEW CHARGES

Investigations into the Bank of Credit and Commerce International have yielded yet more fraud and bribery charges.

The Manhattan district attorney yesterday charged P S Prasad, M K Ponnapula and Nasim Syed with an international bank fraud scheme that allegedly cheated five banks in three countries out of dollars 28.1m, including dollars 16.6m from BCCI. Without giving details, the indictment said one bribe was paid to the brother of India's petroleum minister.

PETROL TAX AMENDMENT

Three Conservative MPs have tabled a last-minute amendment to government proposals to phase out the Petroleum Revenue Tax. They want the transition period extended by 18 months and the cap of pounds 10m to be increased. In exchange, they say the PRT rate should be raised from 50 to 55 per cent.

OIL SLUMPS

Oil prices dropped to their lowest since the Gulf war in 1991, on prospects that Iraq may be allowed to sell oil again. London August futures for Brent crude sank to dollars 16.57 a barrel.

ROLLS-ROYCE ORDER

Emirates Air signed a contract worth up to dollars 400m to buy up to 35 Rolls-Royce Trent engines for Boeing 777 aircraft it has ordered.

POLLY PECK AUCTION

Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus is to auction a pharmaceutical plant owned by Polly Peck International to recoup the company's tax debts.

WALKER LOSES

George Walker's appeal against bankruptcy was dismissed after the former head of the Brent Walker leisure empire failed to pay pounds 18,000 into court to cover the hearing's costs.

GOLD HOVERS

Gold failed to pass the dollars 400 mark for the second day running, and closed in London at dollars 393.75 an ounce despite hitting new 21 2 -year highs of pounds 398.40 in the morning.

LADBROKE BONDS

Ladbroke Group issued pounds 125m of 8.875 per cent 10-year Eurosterling bonds due 2003. The proceeds of the issue, which has been fully underwritten, will be used to repay existing bank borrowings.

HSBC WORLDWIDE

HSBC Holdings, owner of Midland Bank, has set up a holding company called HSBC Investment Banking Group Ltd to co-ordinate its worldwide investment banking activities. It combines Samuel Montagu Holdings and Euromobiliare, formerly part of Midland, and James Capel and HSBC Asset Management Ltd.

MURDOCH BACK ON TV

Australia's second-largest TV group, Seven Network, announced a Adollars 600m ( pounds 276m) float heralding Rupert Murdoch's return to national television. Mr Murdoch will take a maximum 15 per cent.

BT3 CLOSES

The last day for BT3 share applications is Tuesday but some share shops close on Monday.

BA CUTS FARES

(First Edition)

British Airways yesterday stepped up the summer fares war by slashing prices on some European routes by up to a quarter on economy and business class fares.

WORLD MARKETS

NEW YORK: There were big gains on the strength of car, financial, technology and transportation shares. The Dow Jones Average closed 38.75 points up at 3,514.42.

TOKYO: With the market becalmed on worries about the outcome of the G7 meeting, the Nikkei average eased just 32 points to 19,688.67.

HONG KONG: Sentiment remained cautious awaiting the results of the Sino-British talks. The Hang Seng index lost 18.72 points to 7,122.39.

SYDNEY: Prices closed broadly higher on the back of Wall Street's overnight gains. The All Ordinaries index added 9.5 to 1,782.5.

BOMBAY: Thin trade in a shortened session left the index 35.68 points weaker at 2,217.72.

JOHANNESBURG: Gold shares sank throughout the day on the weaker bullion price. The overall index surrendered 68 points to 4,145.

FRANKFURT: Shares moved sharply higher, with the DAX index climbing 63.94 points to 1,783.7.

PARIS: The rally gathered strength as the CAC-40 index recorded a 36.44-point leap to 1,980.37.

MILAN: The insurance sector led a technical correction following recent falls. The MIB put on 1.87 per cent to close at exactly 1,200.

LONDON: Report, page 26.

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