LONDON -- Abu Dhabi expects within days to charge 14 former bank executives with wrongdoing in the collapse of Bank of Credit and Commerce International, lawyers acting for the Emirate said.
Preliminary charges have already been lodged against the 14, who are among 17 detained in the Persian Gulf Emirate since last September, said a spokesman for the firm Simmons & Simmons. Their names would be released when formal charges are filed.
The spokesman also confirmed press reports that Abu Dhabi would press ahead with conflict-of-interest claims against BCCI's former auditor, Price Waterhouse.
Advised on Restructuring
Abu Dhabi, which owns 77.4% of the failed BCCI, said Price Waterhouse advised on a restructuring of the bank, audited it, was helping Abu Dhabi's investigations into the institution, and was reporting to the Bank of England without informing the majority shareholders.
The restructuring plan was abandoned when regulators closed Luxembourg-based BCCI in July 1991.
"We had no conflicts about any of the work which we did," said a spokesman for the accounting firm. "All parties were aware of every aspect of our involvement and raised no objection at the time."
BCCI's liquidators at Touche Ross have launched legal actions against former auditors Ernst & Young and Price Waterhouse, and Abu Dhabi has committed to continuing those actions, Simmons & Simmons said.
"Abu Dhabi will be looking for recompense from all those who are to blame," the legal spokesman said.
Critical of Bank of England
Abu Dhabi has criticized the Bank of England's leading role in closing BCCI, calling it "precipitate."
Abu Dhabi claims that some $4 million of promissory notes it signed to support BCCI became void once the bank was closed, said Simmons & Simmons. "The notes were issued in the context of an ongoing bank," said the spokesman.
But some BCCI creditors insist the majority shareholders should stand by the notes in a worldwide compensation plan backed by Abu Dhabi and Touche Ross.
Abu Dhabi is offering a $1.7 billion cash contribution towards creditors' losses and asking them to give up any legal claim against the majority shareholders.