Rothschilds’ BCCI Shake Down of Arabs


By Dean Henderson
August 5, 2012

(Excerpted from Chapter 6: The Bank of Crooks & Criminals International: Big Oil & Their Bankers…)

The Black Network

The Bank of Credit & Commerce International’s (BCCI) most notorious acts were hatched out of its Karachi branch, where the bank’s Black Network (BN) operated. BN was a global intelligence and enforcement unit that specialized in transporting arms, drugs and gold.

BN operations overlapped with the operations of CIA, Israeli Mossad, the Pakistani ISI and Saudi intelligence, all of whom had accounts at BCCI. BN served as middleman for Saudi aid to both the Nicaraguan contras and the Afghan mujahadeen, aid which was being solicited by Richard Secord. [1]

BN worked extensively with the Israeli Mossad to coordinate Israeli arms deals, especially to Arab countries.

Saudi billionaire Adnan Khashoggi was often at the middle of these deals, along with Manucher Gorbanifar, the former SAVAK agent for the Shah of Iran, whose prowess in the fine arts of torture had landed him a job at Mossad.

BN had close ties to Lieutenant Colonel Amatzia Shuali, an Israeli who split time training Nicaraguan contras and Guatemalan death squads. BCCI was banker to Columbian drug kingpin Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha and had numerous branches in that country.

In 1984, at the height of the contra war, BCCI founder Abedi bought Banco Mercantil in Columbia. In 1989 when Columbian officials raided Gacha’s farm they found Galil assault rifles in crates marked “Israeli Military Industries”. The guns had been used in Mossad’s training of Gacha’s paramilitary army, which was instructed to assassinate Columbian union leaders. Another Israeli with close ties to BN was Ari Ben-Menashe, who helped the Reagan Administration arm Iran.

BN helped Iraqi President Saddam Hussein stash $30 million in skimmed oil revenues from his country’s Treasury, while simultaneously brokering Iraqi Scud missile purchases. The bank brokered nuclear weapons deals for Iraq, Libya, Argentina and Pakistan.

It financed Italian tank sales to Abu Dhabi, North Korean artillery sales to Dubai, Chinese Silkworm missile sales to Saudi Arabia, Brazilian rocket launcher sales to Iran and Iraq, Argentine tank sales to Iraq and French Mirage fighter plane sales to Pakistan, India, Peru, Libya and the GCC Gulf States. They even supplied the tanks to the Kuwaitis for the victory march following Operation Desert Storm, along with Eastern European personnel to drive the tanks while the inept Kuwaitis rode on top waving flags.

In 1985 following the bombing of the US Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon which killed nearly 300 Marines, CIA Director Bill Casey ordered retaliation. BCCI financed the CIA assassination units who hunted Hezbollah operatives. One of those units killed 80 civilians and injured 200 more in a botched attempt to kill Hezbollah leader Sheik Fadlallah. [2]

BN intelligence operations were set up with help from Refaat Assad, brother of Syria’s President Hafez Assad. Both were friends of Manzer al-Kassar, whose heroin ring was sending arms from Secord to Noriega for the contras and whose operations were protected in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. It is possible that Refaat Assad was himself part of the super secret CIA COREA unit to which al-Kassar belonged.

BN bought F-15 escorts for Pakistani drug smugglers connected to the Afghan mujahadeen, and wrote paychecks to contra pilots like Eugene Hasenfus. BCCI was the oil for guns for drugs quid pro quo. It had its GCC-funded predecessors, including the World Finance Corporation (WFC).

Abdullah Darwaish headed the UAE branch of the WFC. Darwaish received $100 million from Abu Dhabi’s al-Nahiyan monarchy to purchase Financial General Bancshares, a major drug money laundry. WFC was run by Bay of Pigs veteran Guillermo Hernandez Cartaya, who scammed $30 million through a Saudi “loan” at Ajman Arab Bank in 1978. It’s main line of business was financing and arranging CIA arms for drugs swaps. One prominent agent was Ed Wilson, the jailed TF-157 veteran who ran EATSCO.

WFC’s founding directors included Walter Sterling Surrey, an OSS veteran, and Juan Romanach, a close associate of Miami mob boss Santos Trafficante. A WFC affiliate called Dominican Mortgage helped Trafficante supply drugs to the Las Vegas market and once tried to buy Caesar’s Palace. WFC had ties to the wealthy Venezuelan Cisneros family through Oswaldo Cisneros Fajardo.

A WFC subsidiary in Panama known as Unibank controlled outlets in London, the UAE, the Netherland Antilles and the Cayman Islands. BCCI later bought the distressed bank. [3] Hernandez-Cartaya and Saudi billionaire Lockheed arms peddler Adnan Khoshoggi, are old friends.

Hernandez-Cartaya also worked with former Nugan Hand sanitation expert Donald Beazley who ran the Great American Bank in Miami. Columbian CIA associate Fernando Birbragher was busted in 1982 for laundering Medellin Cartel drug money through Beazley’s bank, which was actually owned by Marvin Warner, who served as US Ambassador to Switzerland under President Carter.

Warner’s good friend Hugh Culverhouse Sr. sat on the board of Cincinnati financial mogul Carl Lindner’s American Financial Corporation, whose United Brands subsidiary is a major conduit for US-bound Columbian cocaine. [4] Donald Beazley also ran Miami’s City National Bank for Alberto Duque, son of a wealthy Columbian coffee magnate whose start-up funds for the bank had come from a Bahraini oil sheik.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush flew on Duque’s private jet when he attended a Presidential inauguration in Costa Rica. Jeb also built a 30-story Miami office building for Duque’s General Coffee Corporation. Duque was later convicted on fraud charges.

Marvin Warner is tight with Denver oil man Marvin Davis, who owned Silverado S&L in partnership with Neil Bush. In 1981 Davis bought 20th Century Fox with help from the Apex Law Firm. Apex represents the Chicago Gouletas mob family, shady San Francisco 49ers ex-owner and shopping mall king Edward DeBartolo, and S&L looter extraordinaire Charles Keating. When the Davis/Bush-owned Silverado folded most of the money mysteriously ended up in the hands of the Canadian Bronfman family. [5]

One of the most incredible examples of BCCI’s global reach was the case of BCCI China. Henry Kissinger had gotten BCCI into China. Pakistani Sultan Mohammed Khan had been that country’s ambassador to China before becoming Pakistani Ambassador to the US.

There he met Kissinger, then Nixon Secretary of State. Kissinger used Khan to gain access to China, where in 1971 he began meeting with Premier Zhou En-lai in a series of visits that would culminate in detente between China and the US. Soon after Kissinger’s first trip, BCCI was granted a banking license in China, the first such license ever granted to a foreign bank. Khan went to China to run the bank’s operations. Later he oversaw BCCI operations in the US.

BCCI had close relations with Chinese Premier Deng Xiaoping’s family. Reagan CIA Director Bill Casey used BCCI China to spy on its host government. Shortly after Casey’s appointment as DCI, he set up an off-the-shelf spy network of personal friends known as the Hardy Boys. One Hardy Boys, John Shaheen, set up two Hong Kong banks, Tetra Finance and Hong Kong Deposit & Guaranty.

A director at both was Ghanim al-Mazrui, top lieutenant to Sheik Zayed, the Abu Dhabi emir and largest stockholder in BCCI. Another director was Hassan Yassin, a former Saudi official who Saudi intelligence chief Sheik Kamal Adham claimed brought him into the First American Bank buyout.

Both banks eventually went under BCCI-style, bilking scores of middle-class Hong Kong depositors. Shortly after the two banks failed, Hardy Boy John Shaheen received a top intelligence medal. [6]

Leaving the Arabs Holding the Bag

When Sheik Kamal Adham was indicted for his role in the BCCI spook house, he referred to the bank’s closure as a conspiracy by Western bankers bent on keeping the Arab world out of the game of international finance. Speaking to a pan-Arab conference in Cairo, Egypt in 1992, Adham stated angrily, “This bank (BCCI) is not any bank. It is a bank that owns 66 banks around the world… This is not much appreciated by the big powers, who were somehow like the guardians to the younger students in school.

They…used to monitor what the Third World used to do… Suddenly a new vehicle appeared on the scene which belonged to the Third World, instead of using the vehicle they usually assigned to us, (the Third World) have their own vehicle now so the money that came from the oil business went to this vehicle instead of to the banks of the Western world… If you look around in the banking world, you will see that most of the Arab banking organizations with international branches are being hit one after the other, and it cannot appear coincidental. I believe some of it is intentionally done because the New World Order does not allow anyone to have his own vehicles.”

When the Bank of England moved in to shut down BCCI in 1991 Adham wasn’t the only Arab leader crying foul. One Pakistani official from Sind Province stated, “The West and Israel were responsible for the closing of the bank. BCCI was a Third World bank, and it took the challenge of breaking the hegemonic control of the Jewish Lobby and the world’s financial institutions.” The way BCCI was shut down merely bolsters these claims.

In July 1991 Bank of England Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton successfully solicited an $8 million cash infusion into BCCI from Sheik Zayed- BCCI’s biggest shareholder. The very next day, the Bank of England ordered regulators around the world to shut BCCI down.

N. M. Rothschild & Sons, which owns a big chunk of the Bank of England and another big chunk of Bank of America, is also cozy with al-Nahayan’s Abu Dhabi Investment Fund. The London bank had been at the heart of the BCCI scandal. Before British investigators could move in, a warehouse full of BCCI documents in London mysteriously burned to the ground.

In the months before the closure, Sheik Zayed had begun pumping millions into BCCI. He had done so on the advice of his US real estate investment lawyer Sandy Martin. Martin was a former National Security Adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Within months of the BCCI shutdown, Martin hung his client out to dry. He walked into the office of the Federal Reserve Board’s general counsel with a list of Zayed’s alleged improprieties. Sheik Zayed’s personal income was around $30 billion/year and a good bit of that was going into shady US real estate being handled by Martin.

Zayed had risen to power in Abu Dhabi in 1966 when the British helped him overthrow his brother Sheik Shakbut, who had refused British demands that he spend his oil revenues on development schemes.

Zayed, under British tutelage, immediately launched the Abu Dhabi Investment Fund to serve as a vessel through which oil revenues could be recycled into ventures more favorable to the British Crown. It now appeared as though the puppeteer was squeezing a little extra from his faithful old friend. US Ambassador to the UAE Ned Walker refused to discuss the situation.

The Federal Reserve claims it tried to get audits on BCCI for some time, but that neither the Bank of England nor BCCI auditor Price Waterhouse would turn over the papers. New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau ran into similar roadblocks in his investigation of BCCI.

Finally, the Federal Reserve sent a SWAT team into Price Waterhouse. They found that Price, one of the Big Five US accounting firms, had given BCCI an unqualified audit for years 1985-89, despite the fact that Price knew BCCI had no capital.

Later it was revealed that Price Waterhouse had received $600,000 in loans from BCCI’s Barbados office and had never repaid them. [7] The Bank of England and Price Waterhouse were clearly engaged in a cover-up.

Officials at the CIA, NSC, FBI and the Justice Department would soon join in the BCCI whitewashing effort. Morgenthau said Justice was telling potential witnesses not to cooperate with him, while withholding documents which his office requested. Reagan Treasury Secretaries James Baker and Donald Regan had been tipped off about BCCI in 1985 and did nothing.

This was around the same time Baker was selling his Texas Commerce Bank Tower to BCCI shareholder Sheik Khalid bin Mahfouz at a hugely inflated price. A Senate committee charged with investigating BCCI was chaired by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). Kerry helped put a lid on the CIA role in contra drug trafficking.

Kerry is part of the Eastern Establishment whose forefathers became rich smuggling Chinese opium. Kerry is a member of the Yale Skull & Bones secret society, where he and George Bush learned to recite cryptic incantations and to keep a good secret.

In 1988 Bush and Obama Defense Secretary Robert Gates – then Deputy Director of CIA – wrote a six-page report titled, BCCI: Bank of Crooks & Criminals. Director Casey shrugged off the report. The NSC received reports of BCCI brokering nuclear technology to Iran, Iraq and Libya, yet did nothing. In 1987 the FBI requested records pertaining to BCCI’s role in the Iran/Contra affair, then did nothing. Even after Sheik Zayed and other BCCI officials pleaded guilty to money laundering in Florida, the Justice Department pressured Florida Comptroller Gerald Lewis to keep BCCI open.

When the Bank of England closed BCCI a little-known list of US Congressmen who had taken bribes from the bank was made public for only 30 days. According to Chicago BCCI researcher Sherman Skolnick, on the list were the names of 108 members of the US House and 28 members of the US Senate. The most important Congressman to BCCI had been House Ways & Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL), who was later forced to resign and served jail time on corruption charges.

Rostenkowski was a large shareholder in Garfield Ridge Trust & Savings Bank, a Chicago-based S&L, which disguised Mena, AR drug money laundering as soybean and currency trades on Chicago’s Commodity Futures Trading Exchange (CFTE), where Capcom and Enron hid their tracks.

Wendy Gramm, wife of Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm (R-TX), was a key regulator at the CFTE during this time and helped cover up Rostenkowski’s improprieties. [8] Wendy later served on the board of Enron, chairing that company’s Audit Committee when it went belly up in December 2001, leaving small shareholders and employees holding the bag.

Skolnick says BCCI has been resurrected as Pinnacle Banc Group, whose flagship is the First National Bank of Cicero. Cicero is a suburb of Chicago and has earned the nickname Al Capone Land, owing to its long history of hosting organized crime families.

Bishop Paul Marcinkus, the former Vatican Bank executive who had ties to Robert Calvi’s Banco Ambrosiano takeover of Continental Illinois Bank, controls the First National Bank of Cicero. Marcinkus is a long-time CIA liaison. [9]

BCCI was a principal bank for the GCC oil elite. No bank in the world ever grew faster. When the Bank of England shut BCCI down $20 billion in assets were gone forever, most of it belonging to Third World governments and citizens.

A huge petrodollar slush fund had disappeared in a haze of covert operations, drug smuggling and IMF embezzlement of Third World governments. Now the anger of the Arab street was shared by many GCC sheiks, who knew that after faithfully serving as CIA paymasters, they had been shaken down by the Bank of England Rothschild crowd.

It was not exactly what Egyptian nationalist Gamal Abdel Nasser had envisioned when he called for a Bank of the South to be financed by OPEC oil revenues, with the money going to finance real development for the Third World poor.

Instead, the poor had been fleeced one more time and their anger was increasingly being aimed at the United States.

Flying Dolphins

In the late 1990’s UAE Sheik Zayed was back to his old tricks, founding an air freight company known as Flying Dolphin. Sheik Zayed was UAE Ambassador to the US from 1989-1992, just after the BCCI failure. A decade later the UAE was becoming an al Qaeda haven.

In the emirate of Sharjah, al Qaeda operatives linked up with Russian arms dealer Victor Bout, a former Soviet fighter pilot. Bout owned a Sharjah company appropriately named Air Cess. Both Air Cess and Flying Dolphin were cited in a UN report on gun-running in Africa as consistent violators of UN arms embargoes in places like Sierre Leone, Angola and Liberia.

Bout and Zayed were described as “business partners”. Both companies began ferrying Eastern European weapons to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan following a 1996 meeting with Taliban officials at a Sharjah hotel. The UAE was one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban government, along with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Air Cess and Flying Dolphin also supplied al Qaeda operatives with cyanide and other dangerous chemicals from Germany, the Czech Republic and Ukraine. [10] The US State Department says Bout has a fleet of 60 cargo planes based at Sharjah’s duty-free airport. The UN demanded an end to Flying Dolphin’s Afghan shuttles on January 21, 2001, stating that the flights were carrying contraband. When a UN team tried to inspect Air Cess planes on the runway at Sharjah, they were told by UAE officials to leave the country.

Those who persisted had their movements severely restricted by the UAE government, according to Belgian team member Johan Peleman. In 2004 NPR reported that Victor Bout was supplying US contractors in Iraq. His clients included Halliburton’s Kellogg Brown & Root subsidiary. [11]

The US finally applied pressure to the UAE after the 1998 African embassy bombings carried out by al Qaeda. Both President Clinton and Defense Secretary William Cohen wrote their UAE counterparts urging them to clamp down on al Qaeda funding networks.

A senior UAE sheik responded that it was difficult to separate criminal money from that which was going to fight US proxy wars in Bosnia and Chechnya.

While Sharjah’s free-trade airport handled contraband, the neighboring UAE emirate of Dubai handled the money laundering. Dubai is a duty-free port and gold bullion landing strip where US Naval vessels often berth.

Suitcases full of cash often show up at branches of British and US mega-banks that preside over this unregulated offshore banking haven. The Financial Action Task Force, a conglomeration of Treasury officials from 29 nations which was formed after the 911 tragedy, concluded that money laundering was rife in Dubai.

The Taliban had accounts at the Dubai Islamic Bank, whose chairman is Mohammed Khalfan bin Karbash. bin Karbash is Minister for Financial & Industrial Affairs in the UAE government. Al Qaeda operatives often used the howala banking house known as al Barakaat, whose global headquarters is in the UAE.

Al Barakaat was founded by Somali warlord Ahmed Nur Ali Jim’ale and serves as a quasi-central bank in Somalia. In November 2001 the US cut off al Barakaat’s channels to international money center banks, effectively wiping out the savings of middle class Somalis who kept their money at al Barakaat. [12]

Just before the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on America, a wave of gold couriers began showing up in Dubai with massive amounts of bullion taken from Afghanistan.

The gold belonged to al Qaeda and the Taliban and was most likely derived from opium smuggling. In Dubai the couriers exchanged their gold for the US dollars they needed to pull off the coming attacks on the US.

Alleged hijacker ringleader Mohammed Atta received $120,000 to plan and carry out the terror attacks from accounts in Dubai controlled by operation paymaster Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi on orders from Pakistan’s ISI Chief Mahmud Ahmad. Another alleged hijacker and al-Hawsawi himself used accounts at the Dubai branch of the British Cecil Rhodes-founded Standard Chartered Bank to finance the 911 operation.

According to the June 19, 2007 Financial Times, the government of Dubai now owns a 2.7% stake in Standard Chartered via its Istithmar Corporation, which recently paid $100 million to Cunards for the QE2 luxury liner.

[1] “New Capitalism: Bank Fraud, Drug Trade, Espionage”. George Winslow. In These Times. October 30 to November 5, 1991. p.3
[2] The Outlaw Bank: A Wild Ride into the Secret Heart of BCCI. Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne. Random House. New York. 1993. p.315
[3] The Mafia, CIA and George Bush: The Untold Story of America’s Greatest Financial Debacle. Pete Brewton. SPI Books. New York. 1992.
[4] Ibid
[5] Ibid
[6] “BCCI Financial Iran Arms Deal-Witness”. Japan Times. 9-7-92. p.1
[7] Beaty & Gwynne. p.74
[8] “The Enron Black Magic, Part I”. Sherman Skolnick. 12-2-01.
[9] Hot Money and the Politics of Debt. R.T. Naylor. The Linden Press/Simon & Schuster. New York. 1987. p.306
[10] “Emirates Looked Other Way While al Qaeda Funds Flowed”. Judy Pasternak and Stephen Braun. Los Angeles Times. 1-20-02.
[11] National Public Radio. 12-23-04
[12] Pasternak and Braun

Dean Henderson is the author of four books: Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries, Das Kartell der Federal Reserve & Stickin’ it to the Matrix. You can subscribe free to his weekly Left Hook column @

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