US cable chief linked to BCCI

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THE CHAIRMAN of America's largest cable television operator and one of his senior executives received large loans from the collapsed Bank of Credit & Commerce International, it was revealed yesterday.

The loans were apparently in exchange for acting as front men for the bank's Chicago commodities-trading subsidiary.

Robert Magness, chairman and founder of Tele-Communications Incorporated, and Larry Romrell, senior vice-president, used money from BCCI affiliates to buy property, as well as shares in Capcom Financial Services, a derivatives trading company, based in London, that dealt heavily at the Chicago Board of Trade.

The allegations are contained in documents released by a US Senate committee this week.

A letter written by Mr Romrell and apparently provided to the committee by Kamal Adham, former Saudi intelligence chief who is co-operating with US prosecutors, suggests that Mr Romrell and others were acting as nominees for BCCI's shares in Capcom to satisfy the Chicago Board's rules.

Neither executive would comment on the documents, although Mr Romrell's lawyer said the BCCI scandal had become 'a deep personal embarrassment'.

The revelations come a day after two leading Washington lawyers, Clark Clifford, a former US defence secretary, and Robert Altman, were charged with acting as front men for BCCI in its illegal ownership of a US bank.

Their trial date has been set for 26 October.