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BCCI Official Denies Blackmail Report

August 12, 1991

LONDON (AP) _ A official at the Bank of Credit and Commerce International denied reports that he tried to blackmail the bank, and said other former executives were making him a scapegoat, the Financial Times reported Monday.

The daily said Syed Ziauddin Al Akbar, former head of BCCI’s treasury department, denied he had been taken documents when he left the bank in 1986 and used them later to blackmail it into paying him $32 million.

″It’s absolute rubbish. I didn’t take any papers,″ the newspaper quoted him as saying in an interview Sunday.

The auditors Price Waterhouse, who made those allegations and also said he had covered up treasury department losses of almost $1 billion, had not confronted him with the accusations, the Financial Times quoted Akbar as saying.

″The treasury division made at least $100 million profit while I was there,″ it quoted him as saying.

Luxembourg-based BCCI, accused of laundering drug profits, brokering illegal arms sales and harboring money for terrorists, was shut down around the world last month.

Akbar said BCCI’s treasury operations were closely controlled by Swaleh Naqvi, the bank’s chief executive until last October and Abdul Hafeez, another senior executive, according to the newspaper.

Referring to the Price Waterhouse auditors, Akbar was quoted as saying, ″They are telling the whole world I am the culprit. Even now they haven’t contacted me. Nor did the bank’s management contact me.″

″Why didn’t anyone ask me? Everyone wants to make me a scapegoat,″ he was quoted as saying.

Akbar served a six-month prison sentence for laundering drug money, and was released in April.

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