From Library Journal
Founded in 1972, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) started out as a small Third World banking operation and became in 20 years "one of the world's largest privately owned banks with $20 billion in assets and four hundred branches spread across 73 countries at its zenith." Unfortunately it came crashing down in July 1991 when banking regulators in England, the United States, and other countries closed it down. BCCI's dramatic rise and fall is documented in this book, and the cast of characters include oil-rich Arabs, a Middle Eastern terrorist (Abu Nidal), a Latin American dictator (Manuel Noriega), Columbian drug lords, Federal undercover agents et. al. Add a few key dramatic elements such as murder, drug smuggling, money laundering, CIA covert-like operations and it makes for quite a story. While failed banks and savings & loans have become common in the United States, it is still a new and terrifying phenomenon in other countries, where depositors are not insured and risk losing everything because of such corrupt banking practices. The authors present a convincing case for increased global banking regulation and oversight to prevent any future BCCI disasters. Highly recommended for public libraries and special libraries with business collections.- Richard Drezen, Mer rill Lynch Lib., New York
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
The first book on the Bank of Credit and Commerce International as the depository institution of choice for drug- dealers, gun-runners, terrorists, and other lawbreakers. Despite a comparatively narrow focus, the painstakingly documented text sets a high standard for the many entries sure to follow. Adams (a former Forbes editor) and Frantz (coauthor, Selling Out, 1989, etc.) devote the bulk of their report to a successful undercover investigation mounted by the US Customs Service in southern Florida. The sting operation broke up a money-laundering ring and produced hard evidence of BCCI's illicit activities long before government agencies in seven countries closed the bank's doors last summer. The authors nonetheless make a good job of recounting how the Arab-owned, Pakistani-run bank (founded in 1972) was organized to evade oversight by any one nation's regulatory authorities. Achievement of this objective, Adams and Frantz show, gave BCCI stewards more than enough rope to hang themselves as they resorted to Ponzi schemes, pitching shady accounts with secret ledgers, and other crimes to keep pace with the demands of investors or their cronies for credit and cash. BCCI apparently did a fair amount of legitimate business as well, but audits commissioned by the Bank of England finally exposed the extent of its deficits and misconduct, making a shutdown inevitable. The authors leave little doubt that BCCI was able to suborn or use pillars of the financial and political community in its zeal to expand, typically on the basis of undeclared equity interests. The ranks of the tarnished encompass the likes of Jimmy Carter, Clark Clifford, and Bert Lance. This sorry tale is not without heroes, though, including Sidney Bailey (Virginia's commissioner of financial institutions), Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, and New York City's D.A., Robert Morgenthau. The collapse of BCCI's house of marked cards seems certain to attract further editorial attention. Meanwhile, Adams and Frantz offer a primer that promises to measure up against further coverage. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.