Cairo Banks Seen Aiding BCCI Unit

CAIRO - Egyptian banks have deposited cash holdings with the Cairo affiliate of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International in a government-backed rescue operation, financial sources said.

A western economist said state-owned and joint-owned bank would deposit 0.5% of their dollar and Egyptian pound holdings at BCCM, the bank's Cairo affiliate, without interest or at below-market rates.

Al-Ahram newspaper quoted an official source as saying the banks deposited 0.25% of their holdings, about $60 million, with BCCM, and would place the remainder soon.

49% Held by BCCI

The Middle East News Agency said BCCM deposits in BCCI were between $340 million and $400 million. The affiliate, now run by a central bank nominee, is 49% held by BCCI and 51% by Egyptians.

President Hosni Mubarak, fearing domestic fallout if BCCM crashed, met bankers on Sunday to discuss its rescue, the agency quoted information minister Safwat Sharif as saying. Local deposits total $120 million in Egyptian pounds and $500 million in foreign currency, Al-Ahram said.

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