More BCCI charges coming No evidence CIA involved, says Thornburgh.

August 05, 1991|By Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- Attorney General Richard Thornburgh says that major new federal indictments will be handed down within six weeks for money-laundering and bank regulatory violations in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International scandal.

Noting that there are now federal grand juries sitting in Tampa, Miami, Washington and Atlanta, the attorney general said yesterday: "My expectation is that next month -- in a month or six weeks -- we'll be in a position to present the first of the indictments that will result from those investigations."

However, responding to allegations about the CIA's extensive involvement with the bank, Thornburgh emphasized that there is no sign U.S. intelligence officials were involved in any criminal activity in dealing with BCCI.

Last month, banking authorities in three countries shut down the bank, with losses expected to exceed more than $10 billion, after bank officials were found to have engaged in fraud, laundering drug money and aiding international terrorist Abu Nidal. CIA officials have acknowledged that they maintained some bank accounts and transferred funds through BCCI and have said that they used the bank as a source of intelligence gathering.

"Nothing has come to my attention that indicates . . . the CIA was involved in any illegal activities with respect to BCCI," the attorney general declared on the CBS television show, "Face the Nation." Thornburgh did not say whether Department of Justice officials had investigated the CIA's involvement.

The attorney general's television appearance seemed to be aimed at heading off growing criticism of the Department of Justice's conduct in failing to investigate the bank more thoroughly when allegations surfaced in a Florida case three years ago of its involvement in money laundering.

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