Liquidators win pounds 1.3bn Cayman ruling on BCCI

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The Independent Online
Liquidators to the Cayman Islands part of Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) hope to recover "hundreds of millions of dollars" for creditors following a court ruling against a former associate of the crashed bank worth $2.1bn (pounds 1.3bn).

The Court of Appeal in the Cayman Islands granted the damages against Ghaith Rashid Pharaon, a financier now resident in Saudi Arabia, and his company Pharaoh Holdings.

In the late 1980s Mr Pharaon "co-mingled" his own operation International Credit and Investment Company (ICIC) with that of BCCI, with the intention of illegally acquiring US banks.

When regulators closed BCCI down in 1991, because of long-term large- scale fraud, they lumped ICIC in with the rest of the liquidation. In one illegal operation, for instance, ICIC managed to buy an American bank, the Independence Bank of Encino, California, in 1985, via another company, Attock Oil.

The latest court ruling sets the amount Mr Pharaon owes to creditors. It follows a ruling on 22 May 1995 in which the Cayman Islands courts found that Mr Pharaon "was found to have participated in a conspiracy to conceal ICIC's ownership of oil interests held by the Attock Oil Company".

Mr Pharaon has four criminal indictments against him in the US and has also been fined a total of $37m by the US Federal Reserve over his attempts to buy US banks illegally.

A spokesman for Deloitte & Touche said yesterday that they were confident they would be able to recover hotels and real estate holdings belonging to Mr Pharaon worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

BCCI was registered in three separate jurisdictions, London, Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands, and sets of liquidators have been appointed by the courts for each jurisdiction.

Last year the US Federal Reserve permanently barred Mr Pharaon from US banking.

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