Between 1991 and ’92, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) bankster scheme broke. It was investigated by former U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) (U.S. Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations) at that time, who put some color on it. In particular, a strong odor of institutional capture was noted. It’s but one aspect of what we call the “Crime Syndicate” on these pages. [Report available at https://fas.org/irp/congress/1992_rpt/bcci/index.html]
If you’re not familiar with the BCCI Affair, the following videos provide a little flavor.
Frontline: BCCI – The Bank of Crooks and Criminals
Kerry’s report noted:
In going after BCCI, New York District Attorney Morgenthau’s office quickly found that in addition to fighting off the bank, it would receive resistance from almost every other institution or entity connected to BCCI, including at various times, BCCI’s multitude of prominent and politically well-connected lawyers, BCCI’s accountants, BCCI’s shareholders, the Bank of England, the British Serious Fraud Office, and the U.S. Department of Justice. Each, while professing to cooperate with the District Attorney, in fact withheld information from the District Attorney and in some cases, impede[ed], delay[ed], or obstruct[ed] his inquiry for months.
Ultimately, Morgenthau proved BCCI’s criminality, not because of information or cooperation provided by other government agencies — but because BCCI had left a trail of evidence of wrongdoing there for anyone with the tenacity to pursue it.
BCCI, founded in 1972 by Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi and defunct in 1991, had 3,000 criminal customers, and every one of those 3,000 criminal customers is a Page 1 story. You could find financing for nuclear weapons, gun running and narcotics dealing, and you would find all manner and means of crime around the world in the records of this bank.
Under Morgenthau’s theory of the case, BCCI had from the beginning never had the assets it purported to have, but relied on the reputations of prominent people to provide it with the aura of wealth and respectability it needed.
He saw BCCI as a massive, multi-billion dollar confidence scheme, whose collapse was inevitable if the facade BCCI had so carefully constructed were ever ripped away. During the months prior to his July 29, 1991, indictment of BCCI, the New York grand jury had heard witness after witness detail the mechanisms by which the facade had been maintained. Upon hearing those details, they indicted.
The New York District Attorney found that among the major actions taken by BCCI to carry out its fraud were:
** Employing the ruling families of a number of Middle Eastern states as nominees for BCCI, who pretended to be at risk in BCCI but who were in fact guaranteed to be held harmless by BCCI for any actual losses.
** Using bank secrecy havens including Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands to avoid regulation on a consolidated basis by any single regulator of BCCI, and thereby to permit BCCI to transfer assets and liabilities from bank to bank as needed to conceal BCCI’s true economic status.
** Paying bribes and kickbacks to agents of other banking and financial institutions, thereby avoiding the scrutiny of regulators.
The Desert News in 1992 helped explain how this international banking Crime Syndicate affected average Americans:
“There are a variety of connections between Milken, Keating, Paul and various BCCI entities that got involved in maneuvering money for the various players in the savings and loan world,” [BCCI investigator Jack] Blum said. He referred to three of the largest financial scandals in the 1980s: Michael Milken and the downfall of Drexel Burnham Lambert; Charles Keating and Lincoln Savings and Loan; and Paul of CenTrust.
BCCI Variants 1 and 2, Intel and Kompromat Operations
We are particularly interested in how BCCI operated as an intelligence agency. In the book “Outlaw Bank” by Jonathan Beaty comes this passage [via TIME magazine]:
[A] clandestine division of the bank called the Black Network, which functions as a global intelligence operation and a mafia-like enforcement squad … [T]he 1,500-employee Black Network has used sophisticated spy equipment and techniques, along with bribery, extortion, kidnapping and even, by some accounts, murder.
Why [BCCI founder] Agha Hasan Abedi and his rogue bank went unprosecuted for so long is the enduring question at the heart of the BCCI Affair. From “Outlaw Bank”:
The simple answer is that his watch-me-break-all-the-rules act relied upon the near-absolute complicity of many sovereign governments. High government officials and financial regulators around the world knew what the bank was doing, and yet they created the deep silence that cloaked BCCI’s global operations.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the BCCI affair in the United States was the failure of U.S. government and federal law enforcement to move against the outlaw bank. Instead of swift retribution, what took place over more than a decade was a cover-up of major, alarming proportions, often orchestrated from the very highest levels of government.
This ‘bank’ possessed its very own diplomatic corps … its own shipping … companies. Taken collectively, it was more of an armed Renaissance city-state of Machiavelli’s era than a modern corporation.
Although BCCI itself as a bank collapsed, the operatives behind it largely went untouched and created more layers to shield themselves from sunlight. This should be called the B2 variant. In fact, huge fraud is now de facto legal in the U.S.
From the 1992 Kerry report:
[BCCI founder] Abedi developed in BCCI an ideal mechanism for facilitating illicit activity by others … it’s at least somewhat likely that it’s headquartered in the U.S.
Among first-world countries, the U.S. is uniquely hospitable to people who want to leverage shell companies to hide their financing of illegal activity.
To our sensibilities, it seems Jeffrey Epstein fit the profile of the top executives at BCCI 1.0. Epstein committed many of the kompromat crimes committed by BCCI Variant 1. In fact we hold that the BCCI 1 and Epstein’s new generation variant is one and the same. The dossiers of the two variants are combined.
From an August 2019 article:
Police say Epstein was sexually abusing girls as young as 13, many of them from poor families and broken homes. And, according to lawsuits filed by victims, Epstein loaned them out to his famous friends.
From “The Outlaw Bank”:
The protocol department [of BCCI] was also responsible for sweeping the countryside in search of another kind of prey: very young girls for the entertainment of the sheikhs and Middle-Eastern businessmen.
[T]he wife of a Pakistani doctor was in charge of rounding up the girls and bringing them to Karachi to be outfitted in proper clothes before being presented to the princely clients. Often she would shepherd more than 50 girls at a time through a department store, shopping for jewelry and dresses. This practice was so successful — far more effective than giving away microwave ovens or toasters — that the bank would spend as much as $100,000 on such an evening’s entertainment. According to the Senate testimony of Nazir Chinoy, Madame Rahim would also “interview girls, women, and take them … to Abu Dhabi for a dancing show or arrange some singing shows.” Throughout the Middle East, “dancing girls” and “singing girls” are euphemisms for prostitutes; Chinoy chose to be tactful before the TV cameras.
From an August 2019 article in The New York Times titled “The Day Jeffrey Epstein Told Me He Had Dirt on Powerful People”:
The overriding impression I took away from our roughly 90-minute conversation was that Mr. Epstein knew an astonishing number of rich, famous and powerful people, and had photos to prove it. He also claimed to know a great deal about these people, some of it potentially damaging or embarrassing, including details about their supposed sexual proclivities and recreational drug use.
From “The Outlaw Bank”:
According to [BCCI employee] Masri, the protocol officers … were also responsible … for luring businessmen, military officers, and politicians into Abedi’s web of intrigue through a combination of favors, money, blackmail [my emphasis], and intimidation.
From an August 2019 Daily Beast article:
“I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone,” [said Alex Acosta, re: the non-prosecution plea deal that Acosta — then the U.S. Attorney in Miami, Florida — provided to Epstein in 2007. Epstein had been accused of unlawful sex with minors and prostitution, but ended up pleading guilty to two counts of soliciting prostitution from a minor.]
From “The Outlaw Bank”:
The strange and still-murky ties between BCCI and the intelligence agencies of several countries are so pervasive that even the White House has become entangled. As TIME reported … the National Security Council has used BCCI to funnel money for the Iran-Contra deals, and the CIA maintained accounts in BCCI for covert operations. Moreover, investigators have told TIME that the Defense Intelligence Agency has maintained a slush-fund account with BCCI, apparently to pay for clandestine activities.
From “The BCCI Affair”:
BCCI was not a bank which made an adequate return on investment through lending out depositors funds like other banks, but a “Ponzi scheme,” which used new depositors funds to pay current expenses and to repay earlier depositors …
For BCCI’s 1.4 million depositors who had placed an estimated $20 billion with the bank, there would be less than $2 billion of real assets to pay them [after BCCI was shuttered] …
From the August 2019 article in The New York Times titled “Jeffrey Epstein’s Opaque Finances Could Become Focal Point for Investigators”:
The money … would flow among … dozens of bank accounts, shell companies and, at times, charities linked to high-powered friends.
The only purpose of a shell company is to hide the identity of the true owner of the money passing through it, or “beneficial ownership” as it is called by tax authorities and others combating illegal financial flows and tax avoidance.
From the 2019 book “Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales — Spies, Lies and Blackmail,” by Steven Hoffenberg, who was Epstein’s business partner, implies Epstein worked for Israeli and other intelligence. A consensus has developed that Epstein acted as liaison between Bear Stearns and BCCI during Israel-Iran-Contra. :
Hoffenberg told reporter Doug Montero …
Jeffrey Epstein had worked in Europe [during the 1980s]. … He was very heavily involved in the illegal side of the business, of the money laundering, the spying, the arms sales. I’m sure there was some legitimate components that wouldn’t be criminal, but the majority of his work product was criminal.
At this late hour of many years later, I like being concise and I don’t want to misquote, but I can tell you that they sold armament throughout the Middle East and around the world.
Clues on how the entire sistema is filled from top to bottom with sociopaths: From a 2011 article in U.K. newspaper The Independent:
My companion, a senior UK investment banker and I, are discussing the most successful banking types we know and what makes them tick. I argue that they often conform to the characteristics displayed by social psychopaths. To my surprise, my friend agrees.
He then makes an astonishing confession: “At one major investment bank for which I worked, we used psychometric testing to recruit social psychopaths because their characteristics exactly suited them to senior corporate finance roles.”