Talks Delay Arraignment of BCCI

NEW YORK - An arraignment scheduled for Thursday for Bank of Credit and Commerce International was delayed until Nov. 27 after court-appointed liquidators and New York prosecutors agreed to continue talks aimed at avoiding a stiff fine against the bank.

"We have been in discussions with the district attorney's office regarding a disposition of the criminal case, and we intend to continue discussions over the next couple of weeks," said Kenneth Caruso, a lawyer representing liquidators from Britain, Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islands.

He said that progress had been made in the talks but would not give specifics about the terms being discussed.

The arraignment of Luxembourg-based BCCI has been delayed several times when no lawyers appeared to enter a plea on behalf of the bank.

New York law provides that a corporation can be forced into a guilty plea even if it does not have a lawyer present. A judge in that event could hit BCCI with a fine of twice the defendant's illegal gains, or $40 billion.

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