View from City Road: Abu Dhabi may protest too much

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The Independent Online
The Abu Dhabi ruling family and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority have filed a civil claim for dollars 9bn against 13 former executives of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International. The claimants, which own 77 per cent of BCCI's shares, are seeking to show they have been as much sinned against as the bank's 250,000 depositors.

A win against the executives would strengthen Abu Dhabi's position following the rejection of its original dollars 1.7bn compensation plan by the Luxembourg courts. The emirate is cutting a new deal with BCCI's liquidators, Touche Ross, who discussed the civil suit with the Abu Dhabi authorities last week.

Success would also help salvage Abu Dhabi's reputation among BCCI's depositors, many of whom blame the majority shareholders. But its protestations should be taken with a pinch of salt. Regardless of the outcome of the civil suit, BCCI's creditors quite rightly say that the people best placed to detect the massive long-term fraud that caused BCCI's downfall were the owners - Abu Dhabi.

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