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The Independent Online
Abu Dhabi charges 13 with BCCI fraud

The United Arab Emirates, whose President, the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi, owned 77 per cent of the collapsed Bank of Credit and Commerce International, charged 13 of the bank's former executives with fraud, breach of trust and false accounting.

Of those charged, 11 were arrested in Abu Dhabi in September 1991, two months after BCCI was shut down, and face up to 36 years in jail. Two former executives charged in their absence were Agha Hasan Abedi, the bank's founder, who is seriously ill in Pakistan and unlikely to stand trial; and Ziauddin Akbar, in custody in the UK charged with 16 offences of falsifying documents and accounts.

Building costs 'suicide'

Prices in the building industry are being forced down to 'suicide levels' because of cut-throat competition, a report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors warns today. Tender prices fell 3 per cent in the first quarter to their lowest since 1986 and will remain low well into 1994 - although contractors' costs are expected to rise 5.5 per cent over the next two years.

BT attracts a million

Private investors made more than a million applications for shares in BT by yesterday morning. The average application in the public offer, which closes today at 10am, was for about 500 shares. Private investors can also apply for shares through the retail tender, part of the international offer to institutions, which closes on Friday.

Cut-price Gamble

Procter & Gamble in the US will cut prices on several laundry and cleaning products by 3-15 per cent from 2 August, sparking fears of a price war. The group said it expected the strategy to increase market share as consumers placed increasing importance on brand value.

Market report, page 26

pounds 60m Marconi boost

The Government placed a pounds 60m order for electronic equipment to boost the Army's artillery power with Marconi Radar and Control Systems, safeguarding 200 jobs at Hillend, Fife, and Frimley, Surrey.

News Corp Mushrooms

News Corp, Rupert Murdoch's international media group, bought 50 per cent of Mushroom Records, an independent Australian company with annual sales of Adollars 50m, for an undisclosed price. Mushroom's artists include Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan.

First Boston chief quits Archibald Cox surprised Wall Street last night by announcing that he is resigning as president and chief executive officer of the First Boston Corporation, the big US investment bank, with effect from 1 September. He cited personal reasons. Mr Cox's responsibilities will be temporarily assumed by John Hennessy, chief executive officer of the parent company, CS First Boston Group.

Hammerson success

Almost 97 per cent of Hammerson shareholders took up its pounds 199m rights issue.

World Markets

New York: The market succumbed to selling pressure in some pace-setting shares such as JP Morgan and Procter & Gamble. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 8.94 points to close at 3,515.44.

Tokyo: Foreign investors boosted the Nikkei average 200.42 to 20,180.42, its first close above 20,000 in a month.

Hong Kong: The Hang Seng index improved 3.51 to 6,956.10 after six consecutive trading losses.

Sydney: Late buying nudged the All Ordinaries up 2.4 to 1,804.2.

Johannesburg: An improvement in the bullion price after a morning fix below dollars 390 helped the gold index recover from a 54-point fall to end down 26 at 1,950 in heavy volume.

Milan: Light demand for Fiat and telecom shares offset early losses with the MIB index off 0.08 per cent at 1,204.

Frankfurt: Shares drifted on profit-taking after recent strength, the DAX index shedding 11.01 to 1,807.16.

Brussels: The BEL 20 index gained 10.21 to 1,328.54.

Paris: Ahead of today's Bastille Day holiday, the CAC-40 gave up 1.07 points to 1,991.15.

London: Report, page 26.