Mubarak Urges Protection of BCCI Depositors
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (AP) _ President Hosni Mubarak on Sunday called for measures to protect depositors with the Egyptian affiliate of the troubled Bank of Credit and Commerce Internatioan.
Mubarak, in a meeting with his cabinet and senior banking officials, also asked that efforts be made to retrieve any affiliate money deposited outside Egypt.
Fifty-one percent of the bank’s shares are owned by Egyptian interests and the rest are owned by BCCI.
An Egyptian newspaper, al-Messa, reported last Monday that 68,000 depositors in Egypt had placed $1.2 billion with the bank, $400 million of which the Bank of England has frozen in BCCI’s British branch.
There was a rush on the bank in Cairo after the Luxembourg-based BCCI was accused early last month of engaging in massive fraud and theft, brokering clandestine arms deals, laundering drug money and supporting a Mafia-style network of torture and terror. The bank has limited withdrawals to $1,000 or the equivalent in Egyptian pounds.
″President Mubarak received a report on the BCCI bank and asked for the protection of the rights of the depositors and that all efforts be made to ensure the bank’s money deposited outside the country are retreived,″ Information Minister Safwat el-Sherif told reporters after the meeting.
Mubarak also asked Egypt’s central bank take precautions to prevent the collapsing of any banks in Egypt, the minister said.
The meeting, held in the Mediterranean port of Alexandria, was also attended by Abdel-Ghani Gamea, who was appointed as caretaker of BCC Egypt after the Central Bank fired the directors last week.
Opposition newspaper al-Wafd reported Sunday that three Egyptian banks have deposited $150 million into BCC Egypt to help keep it intact. It also said an unidentified Arab state has promised to deposit another $150 million.