Canadian Police Saw No BCCI Laundering

OTTAWA -- Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers and officials from two accounting firms said they were unaware of any money laundering at the Bank of Credit and Commerce International's Canadian branches.

Inspector Bruce Bowie told a parliamentary panel that BCCI's name had surfaced in other money-laundering investigations, but that there was not enough evidence to pursue charges.

"In terms of initiating a police investigation, the facts did not arise that would provide any basis of reasonable grounds which would trigger an investigation into . . . the BCC," he told reporters.

The four Canadian branches of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International were closed July 5 when $208 million in assets were seized by the federal government. The minister of finance has applied to liquidate the bank.

Auditors from Deloitte & Touche and Price Waterhouse said at the hearings they were aware the bank was operating in difficult circumstances. The auditors said Canada's Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions had carried out special investigations during 1988, 1989, and 1990 to check for money laundering in Canada.

Concerns About Capital

Frank Kohlatker, a partner with Deloitte and Touche, said that in October 1990 it became aware of concerns the bank lacked capital.

BCCI in Canada was becoming more reliant on interbank funding from affiliates or through lines of credit with other banks.

The auditors also expressed concern that the bank's license had been renewed for only three months, to March 1991, which the auditors called "highly unusual."

The reference to the expiration date of the license was included in the notes to bank's 1990 financial statements.

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