BCCI case hears second witness

The High Court has seen its second live witness statement in the long-running
misfeasance case which Deloitte, as liquidators of the now defunct Bank of
Credit and Commerce, is bringing against the Bank of England.

Peter Cooke, former head of banking supervision at the Bank of England, told
the High Court yesterday that his impression of Agha Abedi, the founder of BCCI,
was of ‘an intelligent and skilled banker with considerable experience’,
according to the Financial Times.

During his dealings with Abedi, Cooke said in a 330-page witness statement
that he ‘never thought he was dishonest’ but that he ‘did not particularly warm
to him as he had a ‘tendency to be somewhat ingratiating and unctuous’.

BCCI collapsed in 1991, after several scandals, owing more than £10bn. In the
landmark claim Deloitte is alleging that senior officials at the bank were
misfeasant in the way they handled BCCI, in other words that they acted in bad
faith and knowingly put depositors at risk.

It is the first time that the Bank of England – which has statutory immunity
against claims of negligence – has been in the dock in its 300-year history. If
Deloitte is successful in the claim it could receive as much as £850m in

The Bank denies the allegations and has dismissed Deloitte’s case as
‘fundamentally implausible’.

The trial has so far lasted 18 months, heard two of the longest openings
statements in English legal history and cost tens of millions of pounds in legal

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