A Capital Scandal

The biggest bank in Washington and a legendary American political adviser are ensnared in a probe involving a shadowy money-laundering enterprise

Could there be any doubt about this bank's nationality? From its name to its flag-waving ads to its slogan -- "The Bank for All Americans" -- First American Bank of Washington, seems practically like a branch of government. Its chairman and public face is one of America's most respected attorneys and political advisers, Clark Clifford. But what's behind that carefully cultivated image looks decidedly different.

Investigators have evidence that First American, the largest bank in the Washington area (1990 assets: $11 billion), has for years been secretly controlled by a criminally tainted, money-laundering, Luxembourg-based global bank. That evidence last week prompted...

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