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The collapse of the entire banking empire BCCI (BBCI) is considered by many to be the biggest financial scandal of the 20th century. When the true truth about the activities of this organization was revealed in the 90s, the entire world financial community shuddered, since it was possible not only about a gigantic waste of clients' funds, but in general, about the existence of the largest criminal organization in the history of mankind.
Investigators literally grabbed their heads when they learned about the facts of illegal arms trade, bribery of officials, money laundering. After all, BCCI operated tens of billions of dollars. Back in 1991, the bank was considered one of the flagships of the world financial system; it employed 14 thousand employees located in 400 offices in 73 countries of the planet. The number of depositors exceeded a million, the assets of the bank itself at the time of closing amounted to 23 billion, while they eventually disappeared without a trace.
The whole history of BBCI is inseparable from the founder of the bank and its leader until 1988, Pakistanis Abedi, who was born in 1922. Having started his career in a bank, in 1947 the young man ends up in Pakistan, and in 1958 he creates his own United Bank of Pakistan. Abedi realized that friendship with the mighty of this world would be the key to the prosperity of his business, which is why he tried his best to enlist the support of influential clans and politicians.
However, in 1972, all banks in the country were nationalized, and in the same year Abedi registers the BCI bank in Luxembourg. According to the plans of the creator, this structure should acquire a new type, operate all over the world and not obey any government and laws.
The headquarters of the new bank was in London, a number of offshore companies were created to support the work, and the bulk of the staff were Pakistanis, loyal to their head. Bank of America and Sheikh Zayed became the main shareholders. This helped the bank create a legend that wealthy Arab sheikhs are behind it. However, after a while, the controlling stake quietly passed to a group of companies headed by Abedi himself.
The Pakistani didn’t need the sheikh’s money, he needed a sign that would provide an influx of depositors. Through this, Abedi became close to the world's largest leaders, giving them gifts and paying for their expenses. As a result, the bank began to keep the money of the richest families of the third world countries, as well as the central banks of other countries. The 70s-80s were a period of great growth for the BBCI, but the bank never managed to obtain a full-fledged license to operate in the US and Great Britain.
Abedi paid little attention to the legality of financial transactions and the origin of funds. This is why, thanks to its widespread branch network, the BBCI soon became a tool for financing terrorists, drug dealers and other such elements. The bank helped dictators and militants, through it secretly financed the nuclear program of Pakistan. The activities of Abedi and his brainchild were well known to the secret services of the United States and England, but there the report lay "on the shelf." And these organizations themselves actively used the services of the BBCI to carry out their secret organizations.
The war in Afghanistan with the participation of the USSR became a real gold mine for the bank. It was through the BBC-I that the West provided powerful financial support to the Mujahideen. Interestingly, a part of the allocated funds was plundered by Pakistani generals, who were right there in the bank and laundered them, and the supplied weapons were also plundered, also not without the participation of the BBCI. In addition, the bank served the heroin business in Afghanistan. However, for the whole world, the institution remained solid, the reporting showed excellent results, the bank took first places in various ratings.
To deceive the whole world, the bank built a complex system of corporate structures, operations were broken into pieces and distributed to different legal entities. Often, even top management was unaware of the full picture of the organization's activities. If necessary, bank documents were forged and destroyed. The audit was carried out in such a way that the auditors never received complete information, and the most secret offshore structures have never been audited at all.
Abedi created a financial machine that was subject only to his sole control, it became the ideal mechanism for use by major criminals from around the world. The Pakistani had great influence on everyone who knew him, he even created the philosophical concept of the "BBC-I", according to which the bank is a spiritual structure associated with space.
The first thunderclaps struck in 1988 when Abedi suffered a heart attack. Jimmy Carter personally took care of a donor heart for the banker, and after the operation, the Pakistani finally retired from business. At the same time, the bank paid a fine for laundering drug dollars, but presented this case as exceptional.
With the end of the Afghan war in 1989, the main flow of funds dried up, and there was no need for the special services to protect the bank's activities. The auditors began to raise questions about the bank, in 1990 the Abu Dhabi family formally took control of the BBCI, the headquarters moved to Abu Dhabi, which made further investigations extremely difficult.
Already in 1991, the facts of fraud and fraud became more and more obvious, the scale of operations to "blow up" the bank since 1976 was measured in billions. On the basis of a report by auditors in July 1991, the Bank of England closes down the BBCI, after which its activities are also terminated.
Interestingly, the bank itself was not financially successful for the massive conduct of illegal operations, which, logically, should have become super profitable. It turned out that it was initially insolvent, being, in fact, a giant pyramid where money was spent on new offices, bribes, bonuses to managers. The fragmentation of the bank allowed it to elude inspections for the time being, and as a result, the collapsed pyramid left $ 10 billion in debt.
It turned out to be difficult to fully investigate all the mechanisms of the BBCI's activity, since the volume of documentation amounted to several million pages, moreover, the information was extremely confused and fragmentary, and the most important evidence left the borders of England and the States. Abedi himself said that, unlike Western culture, he pays great attention to the invisible, that after the fact is, in fact, his recognition.
In 1995, Aga Hasan Abedi died in Pakistan, which never gave the banker to law enforcement. Lawsuits involving defrauded depositors continue to this day, they even filed a lawsuit against the Bank of England for not paying due attention to the symptoms of the behavior of the BBCI for a long time.
The collapse of this bank marked the beginning in the 80s and 90s of the worldwide US-led fight against financial crime. A special commission on the problems of money laundering was created, under its influence in many countries the legislation was changed accordingly and supervisory bodies appeared. Today, it will not be so easy to create such an organization, although a series of financial scandals in the United States indicate that the fight against crimes of this kind is in full swing.