Brian Quinn, a Bank executive director, yesterday told the Commons Treasury Select Committee that the unit was working hard to 'detect growing signs of criminality'. He said the cases uncovered predominantly concerned outsiders who used banks to carry out frauds or who defrauded the banks.
Most of the cases were unearthed by the Bank's own banking supervision department, which passed suspicions to the new unit. But some came from outside informants or from a new financial fraud investigation network set up to co-ordinate the work of a number of different agencies and the police.
The setting up of the Bank's Special Investigation Unit, headed by Ian Watt, was one of the recommendations of the Bingham report last year on the Bank of Credit and Commerce International.