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BNL Banker Wants to Withdraw Plea

April 27, 1993

ATLANTA (AP) _ A former banker has asked a judge to withdraw a guilty plea for helping to arrange $5 billion in loans allegedly used by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein to buy arms before the Gulf War.

If Thomas M. Fiebelkorn’s request is granted, it will be the second plea withdrawal by an employee of the Atlanta branch of Italy’s Banca Nazionale del Lavoro.

Fiebelkorn pleaded guilty in April 1991 to conspiracy and filing false reports with the Federal Reserve while working as an Atlanta employee of BNL in the 1980s. Fiebelkorn’s former boss, Christopher Drogoul, withdrew his guilty plea to similar charges at a sentencing hearing.

In a recent court filing, Fiebelkorn said he decided to withdraw his plea after listening to evidence at that hearing, which he said tended to undercut the prosecution

Drogoul, former manager of BNL’s Atlanta office, is scheduled to stand trial in September before U.S. District Judge Ernest Tidwell.

Prosecutors have asserted that the BNL branch conspired to defraud the Italian bank in the Iraqi lending scheme. They say charges against Fiebelkorn still would hold even if it could be established that senior bank officials in Italy knowingly participated in the scheme.

Fiebelkorn is one of five former BNL-Atlanta employees with guilty pleas pending before U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob, who has asked to review classified intelligence documents related to BNL before sentencing them.

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