Ex-Sen. Mathias unaware of BCCI link INTERNATIONAL BANK SCANDAL

August 04, 1991|By Washington Bureau of The Sun

WASHINGTON -- Former Sen. Charles McC. Mathias Jr., a director of First American Bankshares Inc. of Washington since 1987, denies any knowledge of the bank's illegal ownership by BCCI.

Mr. Mathias, who represented Maryland in the House from 1961 to 1968 and in the Senate from 1969 to 1986, told The Sun he was unaware of any connection between the bank and BCCI until "it all broke."

"I have nothing to do with BCCI in any way," said Mr. Mathias, now a Washington attorney. His knowledge of First American's corporate affairs, he said, was limited to First American Bankshares, First American Metro Corp. and the various First American banks.

As a First American Bankshares director, he said, he had "no information of what goes on" in the holding companies above it -- First American Corp., Credit and Commerce American Investment and Credit and Commerce American Holdings, the ultimate holding company of First American Bankshares Inc.

CCAH "is the company they [BCCI] are alleged to have acquired shares in by the mechanism of lending the money [to front men] and picking up the shares as collateral, and . . . claiming to own them," he said. He said that process -- if it occurred -- would have violated the agreement between the Federal Reserve and CCAH at the time it was given permission to go into business.

Mr. Mathias added, "I didn't have any particular knowledge of the stockholders, as one doesn't in a corporation."

Asked why he chose to join the First American Bankshares board in 1987, Mr. Mathias said, "I had a number of invitations to go on bank boards. This one was convenient. It had no particular appeal of any sort."

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